The real-life tales of a football writer
What links Premier League legends Alan Shearer, Andrew Cole, Gianfranco Zola, Gus Poyet, Steve McManaman, Ray Parlour, Paul Merson, Rob Lee and Roberto Di Matteo? Why, of course, it's that they're all going to Barbados to compete in the inaugural British Airways Football Legends Invitational Tournament.
The six-a-side tournament will be held at the Kensington Oval on 10-11 June, with teams representing England’s top clubs battling for honours to raise money for local charities involved in the development of football in the Caribbean.
“The emphasis will be on exhibition as well as competition and whilst you can never take away that competitive edge from a footballer, the respect and friendship among the lads will no doubt produce some great entertainment,” said Alan Shearer.
Cole, who only trails Shearer as the Premier League’s all-time top scorer, added: “My family is originally from the Caribbean so I’m pleased that we’re helping put money into grass roots football there. My dad is cricket mad and still doesn’t get football. I’ve enjoyed telling him that I’m going to play football on the famous Kensington Oval...”
Barbados Tourism Authority has developed the tournament in conjunction with the Professional Footballers Association, whose commercial director Christian Smith said: “The popularity of veterans’ football has dipped in recent years as many players retiring prefer to take up careers in the media or coaching. Our aim is to establish an annual series of events featuring some of the great players of the last decade.”
If they're played in beautiful locations such as Barbados, there’ll be no shortage of eager former pros.
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