HUNDREDS of footballers will take to the field this weekend to pay tribute to a former Barrhead player who died earlier this year.

Anton Houghton, who was a popular member of Barrhead Youth Football Club (BYFC), passed away in April, aged just 21.

The club, along with Anton’s family, have now organised a day-long tournament in his memory, with more than 350 players already signed up.

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Featuring 24 teams from across the region, the Anton Houghton Memorial Tournament will see six hours of seven-a-side action being played on one pitch on Sunday.

All proceeds will be donated to two mental health charities chosen by Anton’s family.

Event organiser Barry Lemke, who is a coach with BYFC, told the Barrhead News: “The tournament is a chance to give something back to Anton’s friends and celebrate his life through football.

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“I’d like to think there will be a good turnout on the day.”

St Cadoc’s Youth Football Club have entered seven teams in the tournament and will help to supply referees.

Queen’s Park, one of Anton’s former clubs, will also take part, while the manager of Rangers Women’s FC, Amy MacDonald, is to make an appearance on the sidelines.

Off the pitch, the wider Barrhead community is also pulling together for the worthy cause.

Arthurlie Inns will be hosting the post-match hospitality, while the Sainsbury’s store in Darnley has donated supplies of water and energy drinks for the matches.

So far, the club has raised almost £3,000 but, with a £2 gate entry and donations being taken at the ground, this total is expected to rocket.

All 24 team slots at the tournament have already been snapped up but Barry is urging people from across East Renfrewshire to come along and show their support.

He added: “Thanks go to everyone who has supported the tournament so far. The way people have come together to support the event is great.

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“It’s maybe my name that gets put against it but I couldn’t do it myself. There are so many people who have helped out.”

The club has expressed its thanks to Document Solutions, East Renfrewshire Council, Onlysport and Bold Salon for their support.

Sunday’s tournament will be held at the astro pitch in Cowan Park. The action kicks off at noon and will run until 6pm.