Manchester Remembers: stars line up for charity football match including Ricky Hatton and Jason Manford

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Soap stars, professional sportsmen and actors are among the well-known names taking part in Manchester Remembers, a football match supporting charities founded in memory of victims of the Manchester Arena terrorist bombing.

A charity football match supporting causes founded in memory of victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack will once again be a star-studded occasion after a host of big names signed up to take part.

Manchester Remembers will pit a celebrities team against a side made up of football legends at Oldham Athletic’s home ground Boundary Park on Sunday 7 May.

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The celebrities team will contain former professional sportsmen, soap stars and well-known faces from TV and the stage, while ex-pros from Greater Manchester clubs and former England internationals will be dusting off their boots once more to turn out for the legends side.

Last year’s inaugural match at the Manchester City Academy Stadium raised the massive amount of £80,000 and the event has been brought back this year by overwhelming popular demand.

Who is taking part in the Manchester Remembers charity football match?

The celebrities team that will run out at Boundary Park includes popular Manchester former boxing champion Ricky Hatton and former Olympics athletics sprinter Dwain Chambers.

They will be joined by the likes of Manchester United legend George Best’s son Calum Best, Emmerdale actor Jay Kontzle, I’m A Celebrity.... winner Danny Miller and comedian Jason Manford.

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Jason Manford and Adam Thomas playing for the celebrities team with Clayton Blackmore from the legends side. Photo: Manchester RemembersJason Manford and Adam Thomas playing for the celebrities team with Clayton Blackmore from the legends side. Photo: Manchester Remembers
Jason Manford and Adam Thomas playing for the celebrities team with Clayton Blackmore from the legends side. Photo: Manchester Remembers | Manchester Remembers

Lining up on the opposite side in the football legends team will be ex-Manchester United players and Class of 92 members Nicky Butt and Wes Brown and former Manchester City midfielder Trevor Sinclair.

Other former players getting their boots on once more for the game include John Macken, Frank Sinclair and former Blackburn Rovers defender Colin Hendry.

In the managing dugouts will be ex-England star Peter Reid in charge of the celebrities’ team and former Bolton Wanderers boss Sam Allardyce taking charge of the legends’ side.

When is Manchester Remembers and what will happen on the day?

Manchester Remembers is happening during the coronation weekend on Sunday 7 May, with the match kicking off at 3pm. The venue for this year’s game is Boundary Park, the home stadium of Oldham Athletic.

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The game will raise money for five charities linked to people who lost their lives when a terrorist detonated a bomb at Manchester Arena at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in 2017. The five causes are The Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust, Liv’s Trust, The Megan Hurley Foundation, The Remembering Nell Foundation, and Eilidh’s Trust.

Celebrities player Adam Thomas and Legends player Darren Ambrose vie for the ballCelebrities player Adam Thomas and Legends player Darren Ambrose vie for the ball
Celebrities player Adam Thomas and Legends player Darren Ambrose vie for the ball | Manchester Remembers

There will be pre-match entertainment from Hunter and the Wolves, a band whose frontman Lee Hunter lost his sister Lisa in the bombing, and Courteeners’ tribute act Courtbetweeners. The bands will be on stage from 1pm. The teams will also be serenaded onto the pitch before kick off by Rowetta of Happy Mondays fame.

Organisers have set a capacity at the stadium of 4,999 for the match. Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for under-18s and can be booked via the Manchester Remembers page on Oldham Athletic’s website.

Who are the organisers and what have they said about the match?

Manchester Remembers was founded by Paul Corrigan and Aaron Lee, who was one of the first responders on the scene on the night of the terror attack as he was a serving police officer at the time.

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Last year’s first match raised more than £80,000 for the charities while on the pitch the football legends beat the celebrities 8-3. Initially conceived as a one-off, Paul and Aaron have brought the event back due to overwhelming public demand for it.

In a statement Paul and Aaron said: “We organised the game last year to mark five years since the Arena bombing. There was an amazing response with overwhelming demand for it to take place again and for it to be held every year after this, which we hope will happen.”

Former Manchester City star Shaun Goater celebrating scoring a goalFormer Manchester City star Shaun Goater celebrating scoring a goal
Former Manchester City star Shaun Goater celebrating scoring a goal | Manchester Remembers

People are also being encouraged to book their tickets and be part of the occasion by headline sponsors WeDo Business Services, which employs more than 100 people offering a range of business-related services and has its headquarters in Oldham.

The firm’s group chief executive Mark Lindsay said: “We’re really proud to be back supporting this special event once again. It’s amazing to be able to play a small part in honouring the victims of the Manchester Arena attack and to help raise funds for charities set up in the wake of the tragedy.

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“It was a terrible event which touched the whole nation, and we hope as many people as possible will turn out for the match, which promises to be a great occasion.

Skipper Dean Holden holding aloft the trophy won by the Legends at the 2022 Manchester Remembers matchSkipper Dean Holden holding aloft the trophy won by the Legends at the 2022 Manchester Remembers match
Skipper Dean Holden holding aloft the trophy won by the Legends at the 2022 Manchester Remembers match | Manchester Remembers

“The game is taking place over the Coronation bank holiday weekend and will be an ideal way for people to spend time with their friends and family while supporting fantastic causes.”

Aaron and Paul have also expressed their gratitude to WeDo Business Services for sponsoring the match.

They said: “Manchester Remembers are really grateful to all at WeDo Business Services for their kind sponsorship of our event and all the support they give us.

“Without their backing, it simply wouldn’t be possible to put on our special event, which is carried in the hearts of so many across Manchester and beyond.”

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