On Sunday May 20th twenty-odd players of varying skill levels (mainly low) and ages (mainly high) from all corners of north-east England and beyond will come together for ninety minutes at Hebburn Town FC to raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. On one side a team of Football Bloggers, managed by Gateshead striker Jon Shaw. On the other, sports writers and broadcasters will be urged, cajoled and beaten into shape by Hebburn player Dean Nicholson. Thanks to Hebburn Town to hosting the day, Blyth Spartans goalkeeping coach Carl King for supplying the keepers’ gloves and everybody – players, coaches and spectators – for donating their time and cash to a very worthy cause.
Name:Kristan Scott Heneage
Position: Deep Lying Midfield (Fullback at School)
Job: Writer/Broadcaster/Ex-Newcastle United steward
Website/show/newspaper: Freelance, but normally; ESPN, FourFourTwo, the Guardian and most recently the New York Times
What are you looking forward to most from this year’s game? Hopefully raising money for a great cause. After that Touching the ball, meeting folk and actually talking to them about stuff.
What’s your memory of last year’s game? Pras being lightning in a box. Simon Pryde being incredibly physically fit, and the fact Mark Douglas would easily have made Don Revie’s Leeds side.
(Side note: Any chance we can get Big JFK along to shout abuse at Simon Bird?)
Name: James Craggs
Job: Sports Producer
Website: Sky Tyne and Wear
Looking forward to: Playing in a game that means something
Name: Matthew Raisbeck
Job: Radio sports presenter
Website/show/newspaper: Total Sport on BBC Newcastle, Saturdays, 5-6.30, online commentary of Gateshead FC matches.
What are you looking forward to most from this year’s game? Hopefully recapturing the form that saw me make one start (one goal) for Blyth Town in the Northern Alliance in 2006/07!
Name: Pras Murukesvan
Position: Right midfield
Job: Marketing Manager
Website/show/newspaper: (or club) Blackburn Rovers
What are you looking forward to most from this year’s game? A good turnout in support of a deserving charity, Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
What’s your memory of last year’s game (if applicable)? Apart from the random shouts of Solano from the crowd, it’s got to be Ryan Hubbard’s goal. That goal would have easily made the shortlist for Goal of the week on Sky Sports News!
Name: Michael Jeffares
Job: Civil Servant
Website/show/newspaper: Angel2Islington and on Twitter here.
What are you looking forward to most from this year’s game? It has to be the prospect of lining up against my Sunday morning gaffer Ross Gregory. I’ve had my fair share of criticism over the years from him and he’s always preaching about how good he used to be, so I’m expecting a faultless performance.
Name: Dan Salisbury-Jones
Job: Video Journalist
Place: Sky Tyne and Wear
What are you most looking forward to? Walking out at Hebburn. It is a boyhood dream come true.
What do you remember about last year’s game? Was in the wrong North last year, the North West.
Name: Adam Taylor-Christensen
What are you looking forward to this year? Hopefully a good turnout for a great cause. Also, recreating the form that saw me keep a clean sheet (for 20 mins or so) against 2 Wembley heroes, Paul Chow and Paul Robinson.
What are your memories from last year? Last year, about four weeks before the game, I damaged my ankle ligaments. I remember feeling really gutted that I couldnt play. Four weeksl later, the game came around and I managed to get 20 minutes all because Paul Chow and Paul Robinson swapped teams after starting on my side. Had to play against them.
Name: Richard Bellis
Position: Striker. Please!
Website/show/newspaper: The Blue & White (Chester FC fanzine)
What are you looking forward to most from this year’s game? Playing! I was recovering from an injury last year so played like dog excrement – it wouldn’t be a non-league game without some on the pitch, ha – so I should put a better performance in this year. Either that or I’ll have to come up with different excuses this time round.
What’s your memory of last year’s game? Well the one my brother won’t let me forget is him scoring. He seems to think it was a glorious goal, worthy of the Nou Camp, that set a hundred old men staring into the middle distance wistfully. In fact, it fumbled off his boot and stumbled apologetically into the bottom corner like an early evening drunk. Right, with that off my chest, I really enjoyed the atmosphere, very light-hearted and relaxed.
Name: Joel Goldman
Position: Deputy Editor, Metro Radio, TFM, CFM
Job: Bringing top drawer news and sport to the North East and Cumbria
What are you most looking forward to? Showing off my silky skills and pasty white legs
What’s your memory of last year’s game? Being gutted at having to pull out through injury!
Name: Jak Penny
Position: Comfortable in either full back position.
Job: Freelance football writer
Website/show/newspaper: Currently writing for FootballFanCast,TEAMtalk and the Evening Chronicle on occasions. Usually find my work in the Grassroots section.
What are you looking forward to most from this years’ game? It’ll be nice to put faces to twitter accounts once again and raise some money for a great cause.
What’s your memory of last years game (if applicable)? Of course it’s Ryan Hubbard’s audacious lob and being gobsmacked (not literally) by Paul Fraser and his Shearer-esque running of the front line.
Name: Craig Hope
Job: Chief sports writer
Website/show/newspaper: Hartlepool Mail
What are you looking forward to most from this year’s game? The chance to play in front of 300 people, almost certainly a career high.
Name: Ross Gregory
Job: Sports Editor
Website/show/newspaper: Shields Gazette
What are you looking forward to most from this year’s game? The full-time whistle!
Name: Chris Conway
Position: Left sided midfielder/forward
Job: Video Journalist with the NewsGuardian/NewsPostLeader newspapers
What are you looking forward to most from this year’s game? Linking up with Gareth Johnson on one of the flanks, although I’m sure he’ll shout at me a few times for not tracking back. Other than that, just the banter and buzz of playing and raising money for a superb cause.
What’s your memory of last year’s game (if applicable)? Scoring a tap in from about a yard out. I’m not going to lie, it was magical, although my celebration was a bit poor really. Other than that, my memories are one of sweat and being knackered, although I do remember taking a really dodgy throw in and then being heckled by Gareth Johnson for dashing off when I should’ve been tracking back and helping him out. So all in all, a great success!
Name: Chris Smith
Position: Wannabe midfielder – realistic full-back.
Job: 3D Modeller and Building Surveyor
What are you looking forward to most from this year’s game? Mainly just to have a good kick-about (hopefully) in the sun. People have done much more demanding things in the name of charity!
What’s your memory of last year’s game (if applicable)? Seeing the bright lights and deciding to shoot from a short corner and being (rightly) abused! Under strict self-imposed orders to avoid that this time…
Name: Richard Mason
Job: Sports Writer/Sub-Editor
Website/show/newspaper: The Northern Echo
What are you looking forward to most from this year’s game? Renewing acquaintances with all those who played last year, this time in my favoured position of goalkeeper. (A nasty finger injury ruled me out of keeping goal last year, doctor’s orders and everything).
What’s your memory of last year’s game (if applicable)? Showing my full range of skills in an outfield position including: a mazy run (including a classic feint past Gareth Johnson) which resulted in a shot that flew just wide of the train line at Birtley; and receiving a slide rule pass from Whitley Bay’s Paul Robinson and shanking it wide.