A host of football favourites will be rolling back the years and hoping to get their hands on the Copa Del CL at Cure Leukaemia’s inaugural six-a-side football tournament at St George’s Park next week.
Sixteen teams will be taking part in the tournament at the home of English football, including a sprinkling of legends who will be both playing for - or managing - one of the teams involved.
The action at St George’s Park on the afternoon of Friday, November 23rd, will then be followed by an evening dinner hosted by Johnny Phillips from Sky Sports and including guest speaker and former England international, Paul Merson.
Fellow former England midfielders Matt Le Tissier and Geoff Thomas will be playing or managing a team respectively, and there is also some strong Aston Villa/Birmingham City influence, 48 hours before the big derby at Villa Park.
On the Claret and Blue side will be Ian Taylor, Lee Hendrie and Tommy Johnson with Darren Purse turning out to represent Blues.
Meanwhile the evening dinner sponsor PD Financial Management are also expecting to include further former Villa, Blues and Wolves favourites within their team.
Thomas, Matt Murray – who will be managing a team - and Jody Craddock, who will be playing, complete a quartet of former Wolves players set to be involved on the day.
“It is great that so many former legends are coming along to take part in the first Copa Del CL, and we are really looking forward to an exciting tournament and a great day,” said Thomas, a patron of Cure Leukaemia who won nine England caps during his career.
“I’d love to be able to get out there on the pitch and join in, but with my previous knee injuries I’m pretty much limited to cycling these days!
“However, I have put myself forward to manage a team, and will hopefully be able to pass on all of my tactical knowledge and expertise and show that I still have that competitive edge which I enjoyed as a player!
“I remain very proud of my unbeaten record over nine England appearances, and that is what I am taking into this tournament at the home of the current national team.”
“I’m really looking forward to sticking the boots on again and turning out at St George’s Park,” added Craddock.
“I always knew I’d make it to England’s HQ one day!”
Actor Nigel Boyle, who starred in the BBC hit show ‘Line of Duty’ and is a friend of former Villa star Taylor, is also leading a team.
“It promises to be a great day of football and plenty of fun at a fantastic venue,” says Taylor, now a Director of the Global Football Pro company which organise youth team tournaments and professional player experiences.
“I am sure the games will be keenly contested, even more so with a few former Villa and Blues old boys in town ahead of the big derby on that weekend.
“These events are always extremely competitive, but then afterwards we can all have a drink and a bite to eat and listen to Merse telling us how we should have done it!”
The six-a-side tournament at England’s main training base will offer players the chance to live like professionals for a day, feature in matches on the FIFA-approved 3G pitch and then enjoy the evening dinner and entertainment at the on-site Hilton Hotel.
Further fundraising will take place on the day with the ambition to raise enough money to provide a year’s funding for a Cure Leukaemia specialist research nurse at the Clinical Centre for Haematology at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Whilst this event is sold out, potential teams for future events who wish to register an interest can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How funds raised for Cure Leukaemia help save lives