Claire Allen attended Soccer Aid 2014 and so very kindly provided a visit report for Support through Sport UK ...
Soccer Aid 2014 saw England take on the Rest of the World in a battle of celebrities and football legends at Old Trafford, Manchester. This was the fifth Soccer Aid charity match, with all proceeds going to UNICEF UK.
The atmosphere was electric and during the warm-up, the legends and celebrities encouraged the crowd to clap and cheer in an attempt to build up the excitement before the actual game. The line-up included:
For England
Danny Jones, Stephen Moyer, Jack Whitehall, Mark Owen, Olly Murs, Paddy McGuinness, Jonathan Wilkes (Captain), Jaime Theakston, Ben Shephard, John Bishop, Marvin Humes, Dominic Cooper, Jamie Redknapp, Jamie Carragher, Des Walker, David Seaman, Matt Le Tissier, Kevin Phillips, Sam Allardyce (Manager), Robbie Williams (Assistant Manager), Peter Reid (Coach) and Bradley Walsh (Coach).
For the Rest of the World
Martin Sheen (Captain), James McAvoy, Gordon Ramsey, Kevin Bridges, Nicky Byrne, Patrick Kielty, Adam Richman, Jeremy Renner, Santiago Cabrera, Sam Worthington, Mark Salling, Martin Compston, Edwin van der Sar, Jaap Stam, Edgar Davids, Alessandro Del Piero, Clarence Seedorf, Andriy Shevchenko, Jose Mourinho (Manager), Rui Faria (Assistant Manager), Jose Morais (Coach) and Vic Bettinelli (Coach).
The first half got under way with some excellent football and some particularly silky celebrity skills from Danny Jones, Olly Murs and Nicky Byrne, who appeared to be holding their own against the legends. The Rest of the World Manager, Jose Mourinho, got into the spirit of the evening by sneakily sticking out a foot to trip up Olly Murs as he made a break up the left-hand side. This was much to the amusement of himself, the players and the crowd.
The first half was goalless, but it took only three minutes into the second for the Rest of the World’s Clarence Seedorf to put a score on the board. This appeared to lift the spirits of the team and, in the 69th minute, Nicky Byrne netted the second Rest of the World goal, giving them a comfortable lead.
England were not to be put off, however, with Jamie Redknapp retaliating by firing a long shot into the back of the net. Then, an unhealthy tackle in the 82nd resulted in an on-target Kevin Phillips penalty shot, bringing England back on level pegging.
The crowds were convinced that we were heading to penalties (which would have been fantastic to watch) but Clarence Seedorf had other ideas, scoring not one, but two, goals in the 86th and 91st minutes to secure a win for the Rest of the World team for only the second time in Soccer Aid history.
It was a truly fantastic and memorable evening, with over four million pounds raised for UNICEF UK. The players were genuinely excited to be there and were more than happy to interact and play to the crowds after the match. As my first trip to Old Trafford, it was a fantastic evening of football for a superb cause.