Patrick Bamford on Leeds United charity raffle, men's mental health, battling change and being inspired by Marcus Rashford and Izzy Brown

Patrick Bamford more than understands the platform he has as a Leeds United footballer.

By Joe Urquhart
Thursday, 30th December 2021, 1:15 pm

The 28-year-old is on his latest mission for charity, aiming to raise funds and awareness for Andy's Man Club, Eco Schools and the Whites' very own club foundation.

Bamford is raffling off his match-worn centenary shirt from the Championship promotion-winning campaign along with some Leeds-inspired car registration plates.

It is £10 to enter for supporters via the striker's JustGiving page and the draw will be made on New Year's Eve.

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Last year, Bamford donated £5,000 to Beeston Primary School - among a number of things - to ensure the pupils could continue their learning remotely amid the pandemic and has long been a champion of battling environmental change.

He is a Hylo Athletics ambassador, using the companies 'Athletes for the Planet' bolt sign when he scores, while having recently started helping with the Eco Schools programme by visiting kids in classrooms to discuss the topic of climate change.

Bamford has previously spoken out about being inspired by fellow Premier League footballer Marcus Rashford but has gone a step further to put his feelings into action over the last 18 months or so.

"I don't want to be someone who puts themselves on a pedestal and says that you have to do this or that because it's right," Bamford told the Yorkshire Evening Post over his latest charity work.

Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford is raffling off his centenary shirt for three charities. Pic: Patrick Bamford JustGiving

"I'm just trying to help with the Eco Schools, which is about showing kids there is a better way to do things that is more sustainable and will help in the long run.

"It's not that I didn't care but I was probably oblivious until about three years ago. Once I got involved with a friend's shoe company, I started to understand more and more.

"I think with the platform that footballers have got, yes our main job is doing the business on the pitch, but there's so much more we can do off the pitch.

"I saw on social media Izzy Brown (former Leeds loanee) had helped a guy out with mental health just by letting him pick up the phone to speak to him. That just shows that everyone has a place and everyone can play a part no matter what it is.

Leeds United's Patrick Bamford saltues the Elland Road crowd. Pic: Getty

"That kind of sets the tone for every footballer. The way that Marcus Rashford had such an influence on providing food for kids, I thought there's no reason why I can't speak out and raise awareness."

In the week before Christmas, Brown, who spent the 2018-19 campaign at Leeds, lost close friend and football agent Dominic Yarwood in difficult circumstances before reaching out to a supporter who bravely opened up on social media about his depression and anxiety.

Bamford has - at the time of writing - already raised nearly £15,000 for the three charities of his choice through the raffle.

Andy's Man Club is another of those that United's No 9 opted for and it is another cause that holds vast importance in every day life.

Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford is raffling off his centenary shirt for three charities. Pic: Patrick Bamford JustGiving

Leeds recently marked 10 years since the untimely passing of club hero Gary Speed in November and strides continue to be made in ensuring that people know it is okay to talk, as the charity's slogan states.

"It's all relevant, isn't it?" Bamford said of the men's mental health charity, which started in the city of Leeds.

"Somebody might look at me and say: 'Oh my god! He's living the dream and doing what he loves.'

"Everyone has the same issues no matter where they are in life or what kind of place they're in. That's the great thing that Andy's Man Club does. You can speak confidentially and get things off your chest.

"There's a lot of pressure. It'd almost be harder to speak to your friend and admit you're struggling. Whereas sometimes it's easier to speak to a stranger or someone you don't really know.

"It's not just men. It's women too. But men have this kind of persona where they're too proud to speak out sometimes and admit they're struggling.

"I have friends who have struggled. There were days where I'd be down. It's just about letting people know that they can speak out and reach out. It's not a pride issue or an ego thing.

"Especially with what's gone on in the last few years [with Covid], it's something we're all going through."

Patrick Bamford is holding a raffle to raise money for the Leeds United Foundation, Andys Man Club and Eco Schools. The prize - which will be drawn on New Year's Eve - is a signed Whites centenary shirt from the Championship promotion-winning season along with some Leeds-inspired car registration plates. You can enter the raffle here