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THE JORDAN SINNOTT FOUNDATION TRUST: A CHAT WITH MATT CROOKS

We are nearing one year to the day since the shocking and deeply upsetting events that led to Jordan Sinnott’s tragic death. The Matlock Town midfielder was only 25 years old when he passed away on January 25 last year. In his last ever game, Sinnott scored a fantastic hat-trick for the Gladiators as they easily beat Basford United 5-0 in an Integro League Cup tie. The Bradford-born midfielder made 23 competitive appearances for Matlock Town and scored seven goals.


In a career tragically cut short, Jordan played for Huddersfield Town, Altrincham, Bury, FC Halifax Town, Chesterfield and Alfreton Town before his career ended with the Gladiators.

While his time at Matlock Town was brief, Jordan will always be remembered by everyone associated with the club and he is deeply missed.


Not long after Jordan’s passing, the ‘Shirts for Jordan’ campaign began and grew at a rapid pace and culminated with the founding of the Jordan Sinnott Foundation Trust. The Trust has been able to do some incredible work in the relatively short time since its inception and is looking to do even more this year.


One of the main people behind the Trust was a close friend of Jordan Sinnott: Rotherham United player Matt Crooks.


I recently interviewed Matt about what the Jordan Sinnott Foundation Trust managed to achieve last year and what the future holds for it.


How did you first meet Jordan and for how long were you close friends with him?


“We were both about 14/15 when we both joined the Huddersfield Town academy in the same week. Dean Windass brought him in at the time and I’d just been released from a different club, so I joined Huddersfield’s academy as it was only ten minutes away from my house. For the first couple of weeks, I didn’t really like him – he kept showing me up every week in training! I thought I’d be going in there as the best player but he quickly proved otherwise! But as I got to know him and know his personality, I quickly became friends with him. It went full circle really as a relationship in football, as we both ended up getting released on the same day.”


What was your reaction to how quickly the ‘Shirts for Jordan’ campaign spread? How did this spur the creation of the Jordan Sinnott Foundation Trust and what was the Trust able to achieve last year?


“On a personal side, for me, I said to my girlfriend pretty quickly that I’d like to do something for him; not knowing what it would be. I didn’t know it would end up being a fully-fledged charity but I was very keen to do something to carry his name on. With regards to ‘Shirts for Jordan’, it was incredible. I think, a couple of days after he passed away, the WhatsApp group got started which had about 50 people in there and…it took two hours, maybe, to get all 92 Premier League and Football League clubs involved using the contacts that we had. Personally, I just threw myself in head first to try and get as many clubs involved as I could; just to take my mind off it, really.”


“There were so many people doing so many amazing things with regards to the shirts. We created the Twitter page for it – that made it ten times bigger. In the end, there was over 900 shirts. It was just quite incredible. Walking into the funeral and seeing all of them strung up – I had to go to the toilet and have a moment as it was alright knowing that we had that many shirts, but seeing them there hung up – it was emotional.”


“It’s been difficult with the pandemic, trying to get the shirts to the people who needed them. We worked closely with KitAid over lockdown and a fella called Derek Williams, who was the founder of that charity. They’ve been really good with us. We’ve managed to build up a partnership with them. They knew of a charity called FOMO in Malawi. We thought we’d do a test run to try and get 70 shirts out there before we sent a load more. So we sent 70 over in two boxes and on Christmas Eve they had a memorial tournament in Jordan’s name and all the players that made it to the semi-finals took home a shirt. So they all played in them first and then everyone who made the semi-finals got to take a shirt home. Obviously, I saw the videos and the images online – it was like the perfect Christmas present really for us lot seeing that. I said that seeing those shirts at the funeral was emotional but seeing the video of people wearing them and playing in them was something totally different.”


What does 2021 and beyond have in store for the Jordan Sinnott Foundation Trust?


“We want to make this charity as big as possible and help as many as possible. I’ve said a few times now that I want this charity to be as big as his character was, which was massive. I want it to embody everything about him. We want to help people through sports and our criteria is to help vulnerable people aged between five and 21. We have a form on the website that you can fill in, if you feel like you could benefit from grants that we can offer. It could be for individuals, for teams. I think it could benefit people who, maybe, couldn’t afford to go on a sporting school trip for example. Or maybe a team that needs some footballs. Or an individual who can’t afford some football boots. It could be something to benefit and help out a netball team, for example. They’re the kind of people and teams that we’re wanting to help. On the charity’s website, we have upcoming events that are taking place and also information on shirts that will be auctioned off along with other items such as an Anthony Joshua signed boxing glove. We’ve got loads of stuff that we’ll be giving away over the course of the year.”


Would you support the idea of a Jordan Sinnott pre-season charity match or a pre-season mini charity tournament involving some of Jordan’s past clubs if, all being well, decent-sized crowds are allowed again come July/early August?


“100%. I think it’s a brilliant idea. Obviously, it’s a shame that coronavirus has been prominent in everybody’s lives. Everything’s got to take a back seat at the minute especially with football. I think if anyone deserves a tournament in their name, Jordan would be at the very top of the list. Hopefully, the powers at be for some of Jordan’s past clubs can put their heads together and try and organise something. We’d be more than willing to help as a charity to promote it and help out as necessary. I think it’s a brilliant idea. I know a lot of players who have played with Jordan on the same team would be proud to be a part of it.”

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