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Winners at the 2024 SBC Awards North America

The EPIC Global Solutions Man of the Match Award generates £11,000 for good causes

The second season of the EPIC Global Solutions Man of the Match Award at Deepdale has helped ten charities from different parts of the world to the tune of £11,000, thanks to their selection by the many Preston North End players who won the accolade throughout the course of the 2023/24 campaign.

Having taken over as partners of the Man of the Match concept at the start of the 2022/23 season, EPIC Global Solutions – who are specialists in mitigating against gambling-related harm – donate £500 to the chosen player’s nominated charity, every time a North End favourite is named as the star man at each home game.

As a people-focused company, EPIC – who are based in Appley Bridge and have worked in 32 countries in their first decade of providing education, training and consultancy around problem gambling issues affecting organisations and the individuals within them – have sought to use the award’s new charitable concept to give something back to worthy causes.

Consequently, the past campaign has seen donations made to causes close to the players’ hearts, with Farington-based Tippy Toes Baby Bank being a regular recipient once again, as three players secured six donations between them for the providers of essential baby supplies to families in need.

Causes connected to players’ home areas or former clubs have also benefited, including Duane Holmes nominating the Jordan Sinnott Foundation Trust, Robbie Brady backing St Francis Hospice back home in Raheny, Ireland, and Milutin Osmajic asking for his donation to be sent to his native Montenegro to Dnevni Centar, who provide assistance to people with a range of physical or learning difficulties.

The international feel was maintained via Emil Riis’ nomination for the WWF, while national charities such as Alzheimer’s Research UK and Dementia Scotland also benefited at various points in the campaign.

“It’s always an honour to be named man of the match, but to know that as a result a charity will receive a £500 donation is really special,” said top scorer Will Keane, who won the award against Bristol City and Ipswich Town.

“In my case, that’s Alzheimer’s Research UK which is a charity close to my heart and an important cause. It’s a lovely touch and something I’ve never really seen happen before at other clubs, so everyone involved should be proud of the initiative and hopefully we can see more like it across the country.”

Many of the charities receiving the contributions shared insight into how the funds would be used, with the Limelight Foundation confirming that the £500 they secured thanks to one of Freddie Woodman’s match-winning performances would be used to support a rhino orphanage, while The Brain Tumour Charity explained that donations received via Brad Potts’ wins would help to fund clinical trials into new treatment possibilities for those fighting brain tumours.

“We’re proud that we’ve once again been able to give something back thanks to a twist on the traditional man of the match concept,” explained EPIC CEO and founder Paul Buck, a life-long North End supporter.

“The donations we’ve been able to make to each of the charities make a genuine difference to the recipients, not just thanks to the direct proceeds, but also the reflected PR benefits from the players raising awareness of their cause – we’ve seen plenty of supporters discussing the chosen charities and offering to make donations of their own throughout the season.

“It’s a blueprint for the man of the match concept that we’re honoured to support and hope that it’s something that more clubs and their partners will consider replicating to help the good causes that matter to their players.”

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