Soccer Aid returns for the tenth time with this year’s fundraiser taking place at Man City's Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
The charity football match between an England and Rest of the World team, made up of a who's who of celebrities and former pros, was kicked-off by the singer Robbie Williams and Jonathan Wilkes in 2006 and its galaxy of stars has attracted a great deal of attention over the last 15 years, appealing to the football and non-football aficionado every time it’s played and raising over £38m in aid to UNICEF UK in the process.
Not only has it grown exponentially and brought in a whole heap of money for the charity, it’s also provided its own fair share of magical memories. Here’s six moments this weekend's instalment has got to try and live up to.
Serge Pizzorno of rock band Kasabian wrote himself into Soccer Aid lore back in 2012. Still known as the ‘Wonder Goal’ and a beloved memory of fans across the years, Pizzorno scored an absolute beauty. The guitarist took the ball as he was rushing into the box and, without missing a beat, used his first touch to loop the ball into the net over David Seaman, the second most-capped England goalkeeper of all time. Pizzorno - representing the Rest of the World through his Italian heritage - was visibly ecstatic. Everyone else? Gobsmacked.
Mourinho v Murs
Jose Mourinho, one of the world’s most successful managers in his second spell with Chelsea, took charge of the Rest of the World team in 2014 and brought his patented bastardry to the occasion. His unlucky victim was the singer and television personality Olly Murs. Murs had just latched onto an excellent ball from teammate and captain Jonathan Wilkes on the left-flank. Mou, doing something most of who have had to listen to the cheeky chappie from Essex, decided to take it upon himself to drop Murs to the ground with an expertly timed challenge, to the delight of the crowd. It also provided us with something that would become a rare moment: Mourihno smiling on the Old Trafford sidelines.
Woody Harrelson Penalty
One of those quality match-ups that the competition routinely serves up, but no less surprises on each occasion; it was Woody Harrelson, of Natural Born Killers, White Men Can’t Jump, Indecent Proposal, No Country For Old Men, take your pick etc. etc. against Jamie Theakston from Live & Kicking.
“We’re talking about an absolute A-list Hollywood actor” who had such a little clue about the sport he didn’t know where to take the penalty from. Woody from Cheers strode up to the spot (eventually) after getting some words of wisdom from his Hollywood mate Mike Myers and Nicky Byrne of Westlife.
Harrelson had to step up for the 22nd penalty of the shoot-out after the 90 minutes couldn’t separate the two sides, with the score tied at 2-2. Harrelson placed it perfectly (though without pace) past the stretching Theakston and gave the Rest Of the World’s first ever victory. Scenes.
Mark’s Got The Wright Stuff
Something to rival Serge in the scoring stakes. The Only Way Is Essex star Mark Wright stepped up to take a dead-ball and the echoes of “Too far for Ronaldo to think of it” was probably at the back of quite a few minds at The Theatre of Dreams. Wright struck the ball perfectly from the free-kick and the shot sailed in for England’s opener. Patrick Kielty - who had only been in net for four minutes after replacing Dida - was helpless.
And mugs off Jimmy beautifully 😂
Davids v Wilkes
The event had gotten into the swing of things by the time SoccerAid 2014 rolled around - a nice, friendly and cordial occasion. Only two players had forgotten the memo - organiser Wilkes, and firebrand Edgar Davids, a Netherlands legend. A typical Davids clattering upon Wilkes led to on-field fisticuffs, and later on in the game the England vice-captain threw away his rival’s shinpads. Davids responded by visibly goading his opponent and demonstrating his best skill with some quick feet, taunting Wilkes to try and get the ball off him. He didn’t.
It’s a charity game Edgar!
James Kyson Lee’s Perfect Corner
The Korean-born American actor showed his incredible knowledge of the sport in 2014. Not content with producing the world’s worst cross, Kyson Lee was on-hand to take corner duty... and took it as a throw-in. Thankfully, Zinedine Zidane was on hand to correct him.