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Islington footballers rally around boy battling rare leukaemia

PUBLISHED: 10:18 08 December 2016 | UPDATED: 10:18 08 December 2016

Tony Clark, 11, with his dad Anthony and Tottenham footballer Dele Alli. Picture: Family of Tony Clark

Tony Clark, 11, with his dad Anthony and Tottenham footballer Dele Alli. Picture: Family of Tony Clark

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Islington footballers are out in force to support a young player in his battle against cancer.

The Camden and Islington Youth Football League (CIYFL) is running a penalty shoot-out fundraiser at Market Road this month to support 11-year-old Tony Clark and his family.

Local lad Tony was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia known as Philadelphia positive ALL in October after appearing extremely tired during football games for his Isledon Wolves team.

His chemotherapy is expected to take more than three years. He is being treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Tony’s dad opened the competition on Saturday that will feature many of the 170 teams involved in the league.

“It’s like a rollercoaster, but on the whole he’s been amazing,” he told the Gazette. “Tony’s so resilient - no matter what’s been done to him he’s never really complained.

“The support from everyone at Market Road has been incredible.”

He added: “I was born and raised in the borough. I grew up playing football in the local leagues and went on to play as an adult too. Tony was just beginning to start on that journey.”

Shootouts will take place on Monday, Tuesday and Friday nights as well as Saturday mornings. Teams have until the final whistle at the end of next week to get involved.

League chairman Peter Wickham said: “The Market Road football league is one big family. We wanted to do something positive to show our support and help Tony and his family out.

“Greenwich Leisure Limited have allowed the pitches to be used free of charge so we owe a huge thank you to them,” he added.

The league will also donate this season’s fines money, usually spent on improving the pitches and lowering fees for clubs.

Mr Wickham told the Gazette he hopes to raise more than £10,000 in total.

CIYFL runs competitions for teams aged under seven up to 16.

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