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Dave Clarke, a Lancaster University alumnus who graduated with an MA from the Politics, Philosophy and Religion department, captained Great Britain’s Blind Football team in this year’s Paralympics. Clarke, a full-time bank manager, had scored a prolific 128 goals in 144 appearances for Great Britain before ending his illustrious career at the Games this summer.
Hopes for a gold were high as Great Britain were one of the favourites to achieve success, though the team unfortunately failed to win a medal after being knocked-out by Argentina in the semi-finals. Nevertheless, it was a proud moment for Clarke, who graduated in 1993; who was given the opportunity to captain the team in London this year.
Clarke first taught himself to play football whilst studying at school, as at that time there were no football programmes available for the blind. However, in 1996 when blind-football became recognised as an official sport, he was presented with the opportunity of playing for the Team GB squad.
Clarke, who scored in his final appearance, told the Telegraph: “There’s no reason why disability football should be a poor relation of the professional game. If I have enthused children to take up blind football after this, then that’s job done as far as I’m concerned.”
At the age of 42, Clarke decided to hang up his boots after postponing retirement to feature in the Paralympics this summer. The five times silver medallist, who gives his medals to his children, now intends on speaking to and training aspiring blind-footballers which suitably fits the Olympic sentiment of “inspiring a generation”.