Goodison Park was awash with colour and sunshine on Bank Holiday Monday when Everton Football Club’s shirt sleeve sponsor Angry Birds hosted the first ever Angry Birds Egg Cup.
More than 160 local schoolchildren, representing the Blues’ School Supporters’ Clubs, took to the hallowed turf at Goodison as 16 schools battled it out in a bid to be crowned Angry Birds Egg Cup champions. Everton International Ambassador Steven Pienaar and former Blues star Leon Osman were on hand to present the inaugural Angry Birds Egg Cup trophies to the winners and medals to the runners-up.
Formby High ran out as secondary school winners after overcoming King James I in the final. St Oswald's, meanwhile, won the primary school tournament, beating St Anne Stanley in a closely-contested final.
The day got under way with the teams walking out of the tunnel to Z Cars before each school was joined for their official team photograph by Red, the Angry Birds mascot, before the tournament officially began.
Cheered on by their friends and family in the Upper Bullens, each team had the opportunity to play at least three games on the Goodison Park pitch in the group stages before the competition progressed onto the knock-out stages.
All 160 schoolchildren in attendance left with a VIP goody bag courtesy of Angry Birds, including a water bottle, egg cup and their very own new 2018/19 Everton home shirt.
Speaking after presenting the first-ever Angry Birds Egg Cup trophies, former Blues favourite Osman said: “It’s been a fantastic day. Goodison is a fantastic place to play football and young children don’t often get the opportunity to come and play on the pitch. But with Angry Birds sponsoring the event and the Club opening it up to local schoolchildren, it’s been great to see so many schools and children get the chance to play here.
“Through the Club and Angry Birds, the Egg Cup has been a big success. It’s always nice to walk back out onto Goodison – I’m the past now but these kids could potentially be the future. It’s always a great feeling to be able to put smiles on faces.”
Stephen Porter, Marketing Director at Rovio, makers of Angry Birds, added: “It’s important for Angry Birds and Rovio to engage with the local community and with children because they are a big demographic for us and they play a lot of our games. We want to connect with all fans, young and old, and this was the perfect opportunity to bring both Everton Football Club and Angry Birds together in a branded tournament.
“It’s been a lot of fun. The weather has made today even more special and I think all of the children here – and their families – will remember today for a long, long time. Our first ever Egg Cup has been a big success and we hope to bring it back next year even bigger and better!”
Since launching in December 2009 Angry Birds has become a worldwide phenomenon with more than 3.7 billion game downloads. The partnership with Rovio Entertainment, a Finnish-based company, will open a range of marketing opportunities to new global audiences for both parties.
Launched during the 2015/16 season, the Everton School Supporters’ Club initiative has become a great extra-curricular engagement tool for junior Blues to meet other like-minded students, make friends and learn more about the club they support. There are now more than 100 schools signed up to the initiative, reaching from Netherley to New York and other international schools in Dubai, Spain, New Zealand, Laos and Vietnam.