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Every other year Ellie and I go to the Soccer Aid match at Old Trafford in Manchester, neither of us are huge football fans but it is a fun, family day out where we can sit and watch celebrities playing football as well as donate to a really worthy cause. The money Soccer Aid raises goes to Unicef and in its 1o years of running it has raised 17 million pounds!
Although we are not Manchester United fans it is hard not to be impressed by the Old Trafford stadium, it is enormous, looks stunning and is really well thought out inside and around it.
The game started at 8pm but the gates opened at 4pm and we were there not much after it opened. Being early was definitely good as we didn’t have to queue very much through the turnstiles with our tickets or at the bag searching points (security seemed much higher this year and bags were searched at a few different points going in). Before the match begins you get to watch all the players warming up and they each team comes out to walk a lap around the pitch, waving to the fans and stopping at the press points for photographs. Despite having 4 hours to wait as there was always something going on the time really flew by!
On the England team this year was Sam Allardyce, Robbie Williams, Bradley Walsh, Louis Tomlinson, Damian Lewis, Ben Shephard, Danny Jones, Jack Whitehall, Jamie Theakston, John Bishop, Jonathan Wilkes, Mark Wright, Marvin Humes, Olly Murs, Paddy McGuinness, Jermain Defoe, David Seaman, Jamie Carragher, Phil Neville, Sol Campbell, Robbie Fowler, Danny Murphy and Kieron Dyer.
On the Rest of the World team this year was Claudio Ranieri, Niall Horan, Patrick Kielty, Iwan Rheon, Sir AP McCoy, Matthew Morrison, Michael Sheen, Nicky Byrne, Rickie Haywood-Williams, Sergio Pizzorno, Shayne Ward, Sean Fletcher, Thom Evans, Gareth Thomas, Cafu, Dimitar Berbatov, Edgar Davids, Fabio Cannavaro, Jaap Stam, Samuel Eto’o, Ronaldinho and Dida.
The guest of honour this year was Pele and the opening act was Collabro.
Both teams had a really good mix of people playing, both me and Ellie knew a lot of celebrities on both teams and even for non-football fans we knew a lot of the “legend” footballers there. Ellie (like any other teenage girl) was almost beside herself with excitement at seeing Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan close-up and obviously I was the same when Robbie Williams came close haha!
The first half of the match was really exciting to watch, there was lots happening at both ends of the pitch and plenty of attempts at scoring goals by both teams. Ben Shephard got a yellow card which caused a lot of uproar in the stadium and before we knew it it was half time.
After a 20 minute break, which was surprisingly enough time to dash to the toilet and queue for another drink and snack, we were back in our seats and the second half started.
The second half was as good as the first with lots of action at both ends of the pitch, within a few minutes goals were scored rapidly followed by Ben Shephard being sent off the pitch which caused even more uproar from everyone watching.
The game eventually finished at 3-2 to England with goals being scored by Mark Wright, Dimitar Berbatov and Jermaine Defoe. Mark Wright was named man of the match at the end of it.
After a quick celebration the players came off the pitch and a stage was really quickly put up ready for the winning team and before we knew it the celebratory fireworks were going off and Soccer Aid was over for another year.
If you have ever fancied going to Soccer Aid I would really recommend it. It’s a great day out for everyone young and old. The stadium is filled with families, football fans and celebrity watchers and there is very little swearing from the crowd, there’s no football chanting and everyone stays seated (unless a goal has just been scored) which means it is easy to see the pitch wherever you are sat.