Robbie Williams is an international superstar singer basically unknown in America. He is also obsessed with soccer. Obsessed to the point he bought minor interest in his beloved boyhood club Port Vale and when he moved to Los Angeles to avoid international paparazzi, he installed a 6-a-side pitch in his backyard, complete with bleachers and a sound system.
Growing up near Manchester he was also a huge United fan. In 2006, he and his best friend decided they wanted to play soccer at Old Trafford… and then got the idea to host a major celebrity legends/amateur charity soccer match at the Theater of Dreams centered around the world Cup. The teams were easy ENGLAND v. ROW (REST OF THE WORLD).
Bi-annually it takes place again centered around the World Cup or the European Championship. It is not like a traditional charity match where people show up and play. It starts with an intensive week long pre-match training camp and a week of television coverage leading up to it. And it works, 8 years and over £12 million raised so far, it happens again today at Old Trafford.
I have watched almost every one and they are some of the most fun charity matches you can watch. Both teams take it seriously and they raise a TON of money for important causes. If you do not live in the UK, there are “rivers” on the internet where you can watch it live.
THIS YEAR’S TEAMS ARE
Manager: Sam Allardyce
Coaches: Peter Reid and Bradley Walsh
Robbie Williams, Dominic Cooper, Jonathan Wilkes, Ben Shephard, Jamie Theakston, Marvin Humes, Olly Murs, Danny Jones, John Bishop, Mark Owen, Jack Whitehall, Stephen Moyer, Jamie Redknapp, Jamie Carragher, David Seaman, Teddy Sheringham, Des Walker, Matt Le Tissier
REST OF THE WORLD
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Michael Sheen, Gordon Ramsay, Nicky Byrne, Patrick Kielty, James McAvoy, Sam Worthington, Jeremy Renner, Martin Compston, Kevin Bridges, Santiago Cabrera, Mark Salling, Adam Richman, Edgar Davids, Andriy Shevchenko, Edwin van der Sar, Jaap Stam, Alessandro Del Piero, Clarence Seedorf
(Names in Bold are obviously former player names)
For more information including where the money SoccerAid raises goes, how to donate and how to keep up with the match visit UNICEF UK/Soccer Air 2014