Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray was impressed with what he saw as the club and Community Trust helped the Inter Madrassah Organisation to stage their Annual Multi Faith Football Tournament at the Senior Training Centre.
An event with community cohesion at its core brought 600 players from 60 north west teams together across seven different age groups from U7 through to U13, returning to the calendar after a couple of years' absence thanks to the quality of facilities on offer at Brockhall.
Though many winners were crowned on the day - with the oldest age group champions receiving their trophies from Mowbray - every player felt like a winner after getting chance to play in the indoor arena or on the 4G pitch at the Premier League standard training ground.
Rossendale Valley U13 were handed their trophy by the manager to wrap up a good day for the club; their U7 side also won the first age group of the day. In between, AHF FC won at U8 level, Quwwat FC triumphed at U9 and Crompton FC took the U10 crowd. Two Bolton sides took the remaining two categories, with Bolton United the U11 winners and Bolton Nomads the U12 champions.
Having seen the skills on show in the older age groups - with scouts from Blackburn Rovers' Academy having observed the youngest age groups earlier in the day too - Tony Mowbray was very pleased with the outcome of the event. The Rovers boss explained:
"Coming to see such wonderful integration of different nationalities and faiths is really encouraging.
"I'm not really sure why we haven't got a greater influx of Asian footballers in the Premier League and EFL, but hopefully somewhere along the line there will be a role model and an inspiration for the young lads that I've seen today.
"They are very obviously not short on talent - there has been a lot of talent on show here today from the young Asian boys. It may just be that need for a role model in the Premier League that they need to push them that extra inch to get to being professionals themselves.
"I'm delighted that the fantastic facilities that Blackburn Rovers have can be utilised for the benefit of the community in the way that they have today. Hopefully it's something that we can continue to do."
Qamar Khan, chairman of IMO, was equally pleased that the tournament achieved its purpose on an enjoyable day for all, adding:
"It's about getting the community together - different age ranges, getting together and playing the sport we all love at a superb venue. We are very grateful to Blackburn Rovers for setting the backdrop to the event with this great facilities.
"The main purpose of the event is to get kids out playing, into physical activity, combatting obesity and other issues with everybody enjoying themselves at the same time.
"It brings together people from different background for community cohesion and integration, and it's a superb way of having fun.
"We had always held an annual tournament since 2006, but for the last couple of years we hadn't hosted it because we decided it wasn't working for us. We've now tweaked it a little and got the right age groups that really want to get involved in it, so having said 'let's try it again', having this venue available through Blackburn Rovers has worked well and made it one of our most successful years."
Ilyas Patel, community inclusion manager at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, concluded:
"It has been a great effort from so many people to pull this tournament together and help it to run so smoothly at the first attempt at Brockhall.
"The children were playing with a smile on their face and enjoying the opportunity that we have been able to provide them at such an excellent location.
"Our thanks go to the Inter Madrassah Organisation and their sponsors for working with us to make this vision a reality, and of course to all the people at the club who kindly agreed to make the faciliities available on a Sunday for the benefit of our wider community."