May 25 2012 By Ian Proctor
A RESTAURANT owner has replaced stolen football shirts in time for a team to compete in a continental tournament.
The Observer broke the story last week how a thief had taken six sets of kits - four red and two yellow - belonging to Kodak FC from the shed of the Harrow Youth League team's coach Paul Whitehead some time last weekend.
Upset league-winning youngsters aged eight to 16 had only used the sponsored jerseys for half a season, all of 14 games, before they were taken along with champagne and wine being stockpiled for a Whitehead family party in September, and it was going to cost the club all of its profits from its annual July football tournament to source new shirts.
However, franchisee Kurt Jansen, the owner of four McDonald's restaurants across Harrow, and the managers of cash-for-CDs, DVDs and video games website MusicMagpie.co.uk separately came forward to offer to replacement clothing after spotting the story.
Mr Whitehead told the Observer: "I'm over the moon. I feel really happy for the kids and it's great news.
"I was facing borrowing the away kit from Elmgrove School where I work. We're just thrilled and it's positive for the community."
Mr Jansen said: "I was reading through the Harrow Observer and I flicked to the front page and saw the article and I felt so sorry for the guy and the whole club as they'd lost all their kit.
"I knew I could do something about this so I phoned Elmgrove School and spoke to Paul and he seemed such a nice guy and was devastated at the loss.
"I managed to ring McDonald's and they had shirts printed in double-quick time as I wanted to the players to have them before they go to France this weekend for a tournament.
"Everything seemed to fall into place. I'm just a local businessmen and I really wanted to help out."
Mr Jansen donated 16 sets of bright yellow tops, shorts and socks, a kit bag, training bibs and lots of training apparatus like cones to Mr Whitehead today so Kodak FC's under-10 side could wear them to a soccer competition in Douai, Harrow's twin town, tomorrow.
The club await another six sets of red kit from MusicMagpie.co.uk whose chief marketing officer Eren Ozagir said: "We know how football can help get kids off the street and bring communities together, so after hearing news of the theft in Harrow, the only logical response was to help these children start their new season in style."