Star-Studded UNICEF Match Delights Old Trafford Crowd


David Beckham has become equally renewed for charity work than he is for his footballing career and this charity match was the latest of his charity pursuits. It was the last game in his recent epic adventure where Beckham played 7 games in all 7 continents, finishing the expedition in familiar surroundings. Old Trafford was the venue for the last match and the former England captain drew on all his contacts to create two teams brimming with world class talent.

The Britain and Ireland team consisted of current Premier League players as well as past legends of the league. Peter Crouch, Darren Fletcher and John Terry joined past stars such as Scholes, Giggs and Butt to form a formidable squad. Their opponents, the Rest of the World squad, had some even more exciting names. Ronaldinhio dazzled alongside the likes of Pires and Cafu to complete a star studded line-up.

Both Zidane and Viera were due to play but both were absent from the squad. It came less than 24 hours after the atrocious attacks in Paris which shook their home nation’s capital. Our support and condolences go out to Paris and those affected by the torrid evening. Old Trafford paid respect to those that lost their life with a perfectly observed silence at the start of the match.

More from The Top Flight

As the game got underway it appeared as though Britain and Ireland had youth on their side as they dominated an entertaining first half. The current crop of Premier League players were certainly playing at a different pace and Crouch was unlucky not to put his team in front. However, it was the Class of 92 who really impressed.

Phil Neville was rolling back the years with overlapping runs past David Beckham who certainly hasn’t lost his ability to put the ball on a six-pence. Paul Scholes was another of the old guard who really impressed, showing just how lucky United were to have such a talented group at their club. United fans will be slightly concerned that their past legendsseemed much more effective than their current squad!

Manchester United
Former star of Manchester United, Paul Scholes. (Credit: Lordcolus — Flickr Creative Commons) /

The first goal was all too familiar, David Beckham superbly assisted Paul Scholes who had timed his run and header to perfection. The relationships built up all those years ago have seemingly not been lost or forgotten. The first half ended with just the one goal and the second half brought a lot of changes.

The substitutions saw the Rest Of The World team grow into the game with the Brazilian magician, Ronaldinho, showing just how lucky the footballing world was to have such a player. However, even his magic couldn’t stop the Britain and Ireland team extending their lead. Once again it was both Beckham and Scholes who were involved but the final touch was down to Michael Owen, demonstrating he will never lose that poachers instinct.

ROW team didn’t give up though, Dwight Yorke scored with a wonderful finish to half the deficit as the game became a much more equal affair. However they couldn’t find an equaliser and Michael Owen capitalised on a goal keeping error to fire his side to a 3-1 victory. It was a wonderfully entertaining game which raised both money and awareness for an equally wonderful cause.

David Beckham had a very personal moment as well when he was substituted off for his eldest son, Romeo, to the elation of the crowd. The 16 year-old showed signs of his dad’s ability with some beautifully crafted crosses from wide. Beckham senior then returned to the field to link up with his son, both players wearing the infamous number seven. The crowd enjoyed the moment and cheered as if a goal had been scored every time they passed to one another.

It was a magical evening in Manchester despite being overshadowed by what had happened in Paris the night before. The match gave fans the chance to reminisce over past champions and raise awareness for the vital work carried out by UNICEF.

Next: Where Next For David Moyes?

More from Manchester United