Deepdale welcomes the EPIC Risk Management Man of the Match Award

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A range of charities are set to be the biggest winners as the EPIC Risk Management Man of the Match Award becomes a new feature of the matchday experience this season at Preston North End Football Club.

In a new twist on a popular concept, for every competitive first team home fixture at Deepdale in the 2022/23 season, PNE’s star man – as chosen by the match sponsor or the new award sponsors – will be winning the accolade on behalf of a cause close to their heart, as the new partners pledge to donate £500 to the player’s nominated charity.

EPIC Risk Management – who are a Lancashire firm, based in Appley Bridge, but working in 27 countries – are globally-leading specialists in gambling harm minimisation, preventing gambling from harming people and organisations through education, training, advice and consultancy. The players and staff at Deepdale are very familiar with EPIC’s work, thanks to an ongoing five-year deal which sees EPIC visit every EFL club once a season to deliver education sessions from facilitators with lived experience of gambling harm.

The company also enjoys plenty of connections with PNE, having been executive box holders and player sponsors in recent seasons thanks to CEO Paul Buck’s lifelong support for the club, while their marketing communications manager, Adrian Ward, job shares the stadium announcer’s role on matchdays at Deepdale.

Reacting to the new arrangement, Ward explained:

“It’s a pleasure for EPIC Risk Management to increase our involvement with Preston North End and become the new Man of the Match sponsor, furthering a long-standing connection with the club and supporting some very worthy causes in the process.

“It’s in keeping with our company ethos to be benevolent wherever we can. We’re currently part of the B1G1 movement, which sees us donate to global causes on a sliding scale every time we enjoy a business success, and we’ve also been sponsors of other professional, grassroots and charitable sports and events.

“Preston North End are one of the many sports clubs that we already work with. Every year for the past four seasons, we’ve delivered our education programme to various groups within the club, by staff who have lived through serious gambling disorders, and will be back working with the club’s first team squad again this season. We do that for every club within the EFL, as well as elite cricket and rugby union in England and the huge NCAA college network in the USA, plus many other high-risk sectors in 27 countries.

“On a personal note, this is the ideal arrangement for me, given that I work full-time for EPIC whilst also sharing the stadium announcer’s role at Deepdale on matchdays, so I look forward to announcing all the man of the match winners and their chosen charities this season. I have absolutely no excuse for getting my lines wrong when I’m announcing the sponsors’ details for this award!”

Welcoming EPIC Risk Management’s extended relationship with the club, North End club secretary Ben Rhodes added:

“It’s absolutely fantastic to have the man of the match award return – it’s part of the matchday experience for fans up and down the country.

“To partner with EPIC Risk Management on this – with what I think is a unique prize – is something that’s great to talk about. The fact that we’re going to be giving a charitable donation for every award winner and the player is going to be able to support charities that they personally want to back is something that I’ve not seen anywhere else. It’s a great partnership and something that we’re looking forward to re-launching.

“EPIC are a company that we’ve worked with over the past few years through the EFL, working with our young players, staff and senior players. They make them aware of the risks of getting involved in gambling; the effect it can have on people’s lives, the effect it can have on their family’s lives.

“It’s great to partner with a company that has such a positive impact on our sport. To do this in such a unique way and give something back is a concept that we’re really happy with.”