Harry Redknapp’s finally going to get his chance to manage England.
No, the FA haven’t all of a sudden decided to give the England job to an Englishman, but on September 7th, the Portsmouth manager will lead an England team comprised of celebrities and former football stars against a Rest of the World team at Soccer Aid 2008 at Wembley Stadium.
The proceeds will go to benefit UNICEF and other charities, and is spearheaded by Robbie Williams, a UNICEF ambassador, and actor/musician/TV presenter/former Everton youth player Jonathan Wilkes, who put on the first Soccer Aid in May 2006.
In that matchup, which was held at Old Trafford, the England team came out on top 2-1, with Les Ferdinand and Wilkes scoring for England, and Diego Maradona netting a penalty for the Rest of the World side.
That event, which raised £2.6m for UNICEF, featured names like Gordon Ramsay, Ben Johnson, Eddie Irvine, and Alistair Campbell being joined by former football stars from Maradona to Lothar Matthaus, Peter Schmeichel, and Ruud Gullit on the Rest of the World Side. England’s side featured Williams, Wilkes, and musician David Gray playing alongside Ferdinand, Paul Gascoigne, Bryan Robson, John Barnes, and Tony Adams.
Several names from the first event return for this year’s, as Ramsay returns to captain the Rest of the World side, and Campbell, Patrick Kielty, and Schmeichel will return for the World side as well.
For the England side, Redknapp will get to work with son Jamie, who was a part of the event in 2006, and he’ll join returnees Wilkes, Jamie Theakston, and Ben Shephard. However, Williams won’t be able to take part in any of the action on the field this time, due to knee issues.
England’s side will get a boost with the addition of Alan Shearer, while the World side adds cricket star Brian Lara and American actor Jesse Metcalfe.
While Harry Redknapp will be leading the England team out, the Rest of the World side will be led by the great Kenny Dalglish, who’ll actually be opposite a few of his former players (Redknapp from Liverpool, Shearer from Blackburn).
The action will be televised on ITV1, with Tim Lovejoy calling the action with Jamie’s wife Louise, who I’m sure many of SL’s male readers have seen a time or two.
If you’d like to get tickets for Soccer Aid 2008, go to http://www.itv.com/socceraid, or you can call 0871 230 7148. Tickets started going on sale this morning, so make sure you snap yours up quickly.