On Wednesday 10th February, the Jason Roberts Foundation (JRF) were delighted to welcome former Arsenal, Liverpool, and Benfica player Michael Thomas to their latest ‘The Player, The Man’ online interactive session. The live events, which have recently hosted names including Andrew Cole and Emile Heskey, enable the audience to listen and question the guest.
The invited audience had a real and transparent insight into the passions, decisions, emotions, challenges, successes, and love for the game from the former England international. Discussing topics such as life after football, transitioning from Arsenal to Liverpool, the Benfica experience and of course the famous title winning goal meant that everyone in attendance had something to take away from the event, whether that be a blast from the past, a thought-provoking moment, or a nugget of advice. It truly was another memorable evening.
The audience were given the opportunity to ask their own questions and in true Michael style he answered them all, with dignity and integrity. For someone who said that ‘he found playing in front of thousands of people a more comfortable experience than speaking in front of far smaller groups,’ his ease and warmth belied otherwise. Michael was a superb guest who prompted enthusiastic feedback from members of the audience. The captivating interview can be viewed here:
This is not the first time the former midfielder has worked with the Foundation. In 2010 he accompanied the JRF team to Grenada to support the launch of the Premier League National Football Competition.
Since then, he has been working hard off the pitch establishing the Phoenix Sport and Media Group, a multi-disciplinary professional advisory group helping to safeguard and protect iconic talent and some of the world’s most talented rising stars.
Brent Councillor Ketan Sheth, Chairman of Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee added the closing remarks to the event by thanking Michael Thomas personally stating ‘The pandemic has been absolutely brutal particularly here in Brent and surrounding communities, so I am so grateful to the Jason Roberts Foundation for holding community events like this one. It helps to keep us all going strong, particularly our young people. I want to say a huge thank you to Michael, not just a famous footballer but a real community hero to all of us. Thank you very much.’
Otis Roberts, CEO of the Foundation said, ‘As always we are extremely grateful to Michael for his time and commitment. A true great on the pitch and off it as well and we hope to have the opportunity to work with him again in the near future.’
The evening with Michael was recorded and is available to view in 3 parts: