My wife Anne and I were very pleased to be invited this last week to the second annual Saints Together charity dinner.

This was organised by Greg Baker, head of the Saints Foundation and Community Partnerships, along with his staff.

I have always believed as a football manager that the club is an integral part of the community and from many early days at clubs like Doncaster and Grimsby I took the players out and about to local factories, the fish docks etc.

I am also aware of the good work Greg and his team do having, as I mentioned last year, been on two occasions at functions he put on involving pensioners from our area.

Many of them are living alone but were brought together once with school children and at Christmas time when I was a surprise visitor along with three of my Cup team – Ian Turner, Dave Peach and Peter Rodrigues - to the Christmas tea party the club put on.

Even I was surprised and delighted on the night to hear and see videos of the excellent work the Foundation are carrying out in our area.

I have always said there are a lot of things going on in football clubs behind the scenes which are not realised.

To be fair, supporters normally buy a ticket, watch their team and judge the club by their performances and league position.

But I may have mentioned before that recently I heard about an ex-international player who sadly could not handle finishing the game and had turned to drink. The Player’s Union had spent over £100,000 on trying to help him with his rehabilitation.

The Premier League as well I know do a similar thing where they have members of staff who hear about players who are struggling to find a new life and go out and about to try and help them.

This week some of the stories at the dinner were tear-jerking.

One lady came onto the stage and wanted everyone to know that at one time she had an addiction to alcohol and drugs.

She made the decision herself to go clean, but as she described that period then is the most difficult as there were times when she had a very hard job because as she would normally be drinking or taking drugs there was nothing else to occupy her.

That was until she was introduced to the Foundation, and there was great video of her joining in, would you believe, sessions with boxing clubs, involving punchbags and sparring, which she said not only took up the time she would have normally been doing the wrong things but made her regain fitness and pride.

She broke down during the middle of her talk and I suspect there wasn’t a dry eye anywhere in the room.

There was also a story of a man in his 80s who was seen in a gymnasium taking part in fitness exercises which he said had saved his life.

Greg now apparently has a staff of 50 and they are out and about doing fantastic work in the community, and they are obviously grateful to the sponsors who were given a good mention on the night.

The auction, with only five items, raised about £10,000, which along with money raised through silent auction, will go to keep the good work up in the community and full marks to the club itself for supporting all of this.

The bonus for many people was the fact they were able to meet and listen to some of the players.

Obviously with a late evening event like this they were players who unfortunately are presently injured but gave up their time and were brought on to the stage by the two presenters, Kenzie Benali – and remember that name, daughter of Francis – and Tom Deacon, who did a good job on the night.

Maya Yoshida, Steven Davis and Charlie Austin all added their comments and praise and video highlights showed Charlie visiting a school and then picking out one youngster who had autism.

Seeing him with his schoolmates at the training ground and kicking a ball with players like Charlie shows how it has completely changed his life and I know better than most having been involved with Special Olympics for more than 20 years what benefit this gives to the family as well as the youngster.

The evening was a huge success and, in addition to the players, the legendary Kelvin Davis, who is now on the first team coaching staff, was there, and to top it all off manager Mauricio Pellegrino too, and I had the pleasure of speaking with him for a few minutes. I wished him well on the long journey to the north east.

The fact that the club on the night showed what they are doing away from match days was a credit to everyone concerned and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.