The Villa family comes together

Saturday’s match against Hartley Wintney will mark nearly two months since Hanworth’s defeat at Corinthian Casuals. A disappointing result for Villa that was overshadowed by a severe injury to defender and club captain: George Wells.

With Villa chasing a winner in the final minutes of the games, George was pushed into the Corinthian’s post and suffered major injuries to his face and finger. We sat down with George to talk through his injury and how the Hanworth family has come together to support him.

George’s mouth prior to the surgery

“I knew something was wrong right away, my lip blew up and I could feel my two front teeth had already been pushed into the roof of my mouth” George said.

Suddenly the defeat did not seem to matter as much, as George was set for months on the sidelines. Reflecting on that afternoon, Villa manager Simon Haughney said: “It was massively damaging; we had lost the best defender in the league and his influence in the changing room.”

At every level of the game, injuries can be physically and mentally challenging to deal with. At non-league level, they can be devastating.

Not only had George suffered a severe facial injury that made it difficult to eat and close his mouth, he had also seriously damaged his finger. Outside of football, George is self-employed in the building and maintenance trade. With a splint being placed in his finger, he could not drive and subsequently could not work.

“To get injured [in non-league] and then still survive in the outside world is really hard because unfortunately people have got bills, and they don’t stop.”

Over the Christmas period, George missed a considerable amount of work and required extensive dental treatment. Hanworth Villa and its community saw to it that George got the help he needed in this difficult period.

First, manager Simon organised a whip-round for George to compensate him for his lost earnings.

Speaking about how the club came together, Simon said:

“You do not leave an injured soldier on the battlefield. If you have players that you shout at and demand to be brave, you then have to support them when things go wrong.”

Collectively, the club supporters, players and community members raised over £3000 to help him.

“These are young men with bills to pay and as a club we have a responsibility to support them,” said Simon.

George said: “Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about any bills being missed or anything like that. As a club, they have been excellent.”

There was still the cost of his dental procedures, which can be expensive considering the damage that had been done. Thankfully, sponsor Refresh Dental stepped in.

We spoke with the owner of Refresh Dental, Mide Ojo, who described the severity of George’s injury.

He said: “As soon as I first saw him, I couldn’t let him go. Within about five minutes, I realised that he couldn’t actually eat because his teeth had been knocked inwards.”

After treating George and making him a special sports mouthguard to aid his recovery, Mide went above and beyond to then discount the cost of the treatment.

When asked why he pulled out all the stops, Mide said: “I was fortunate enough for James to invite me to an FA Cup game early in the season. I just remember going over and thinking that the team spirit was just incredible and that the club itself had a really great feel.”

“Refresh Dental and Mide have been excellent, I’ve been on FaceTime with Mide at like 8, 9 or even 10 o’clock at night just to double check that I was okay,” said George.

Adding to their main branch in Twickenham, Refresh Dental have just opened a new branch in Hampton, details of which can be found on their website.

Because of the efforts of the extensive Hanworth Villa family, George is set to return to action against Hartley Wintney on Saturday. Thanks to the supporters, players, community members and Refresh Dental for coming together and supporting our players.

George Wells and Mide from Refresh Dental

‘Midway through George’s treatment, having experienced how our club and everyone connected to it had sought to help, our amazing partners in Mide, Ife and their Refresh Dental team in particular, I remember George saying in a message that it felt like we were all part of a “big family”. I thought that neatly summed up what Hanworth Villa is all about.’ – James Connor, Hanworth Villa Chairman.