Soccer legends set for Doncaster for charity

You’ve seen them play for England or lift the European Cup – now they’re set to face a different footballing challenging.

Ex Premiership Legends v Doncaster Charity XI.  Lee Hendrie (left) gets round defender Josh Appleton.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Ex Premiership Legends v Doncaster Charity XI. Lee Hendrie (left) gets round defender Josh Appleton. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

A team made up of retired footballing icons is ready to put their boots back on to take on a band of enthusiastic amateurs at the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster today.

The winner of the match is already known. It will be the Eve Merton Dreams Trust, a cancer charity for which the players are raising money through sponsorship.

Among the star names taking part tomorrow at the Keepmoat will be former England defender Des Walker and ex-Liverpool left back Alan Kennedy, who scored the winning goal in the 1981 European Cup Final, and then the winning penalty in the same competition three years later. The amateur fundraisers include company directors, scaffolders, call centre workers, a journalist and a band of teachers representing 13 of the borough’s schools.

It is the second year the high profile charity game is being played at the venue. The amateurs are hoping to improve on an 11-5 defeat last year.

As well as Des Walker and Alan Kennedy, the line-up will also include Sky Sports’ Peter Beagrie, former Everton midfielder Alan Stubbs, and ex-England and former Aston Villa heroes Darius Vassell and Lee Hendrie.

Another former England international, Carlton Palmer, and former Doncaster Rovers and Barnsley player Bruce Dyer will join Rovers legends Colin Douglas, Rufus Brevett and Brian Stock.

The Eve Merton trust raises money for serious and terminally ill cancer patients in the Doncaster area.

Bruce Dyer is going a step beyond the call of duty, having his hair coloured pink and green – the charity’s colours – before the match in support.

Martin Lawrence, co-founder of the charity and son of Eve Merton, a popular Doncaster market trader who lost her fight against cancer and in whose memory the charity was set up, is pleased with preparations for the game.

He said: “Everything for the event is going great and it’s set to be a perfect family fun day with something for everyone. The charity team, made up of Doncaster fundraisers and schoolteachers, have been working hard raising money and training for the game, while at the same time we have three generations of footballing legends including Des Walker, Peter Beagrie and many more.

“All in all it’s set to be a great event and game that you won’t want to miss.”

He is hoping for a packed ground tomorrow.

Admission prices are £10 for a family ticket, £5 for an adult and £3 per child. Family activities at the stadium are from 4pm, kick-off 6pm.