A team of football legends descended on Birmingham on 21 November to take on the winners of the final of the ‘Geoff Thomas National Cup’. The chance to face the ex-professional footballers was one of many prizes on offer to the winners and top fundraisers of Powerleague’s national 5-a-side charity competition. The finals, at the Powerleague Centre at Salford Stadium, featured the winners of regional heats which had been held at centres across the country since October.
Captained by ex-Crystal Palace skipper Geoff Thomas and managed by Crystal Palace legend and BBC pundit Mark Bright, the celebrity team included Wolves and Coventry favourite Steve Frogatt, Wolves, Sunderland and West Brom striker Don Goodman, Wolves and Walsall striker David Kelly, ex-Walsall defender Chris Marsh and Aston Villa winger Tony Daley.
Well-deserved overall winners of the 2010 Geoff Thomas National Cup were London team ‘Formalities’, who actually also went on to beat the ex-pros 3-1 in a hard fought match! The team won a ‘Wembley Experience’ - five-star hotel accommodation, a tour of the stadium, plus eight match tickets.
This year’s top fundraising team were ‘KenEagles’ from Liverpool, who also had the opportunity to play the team of football legends and managed to take them to penalties. Team captain John Rogerson, who led their fundraising efforts, received the fantastic prize of tickets to the highly prestigious Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Awards Dinner.
The Powerleague tournament was held in support of The Geoff Thomas Foundation. The Foundation was set up by the former Crystal Palace skipper after he was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2003, less than a year after hanging up his boots. He received a life-saving stem cell transplant in 2004 and has been in remission ever since. Geoff’s Foundation is now working with the charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research to make sure blood cancer patients have access to effective new treatments as quickly as possible.
Geoff said: “It was a fun day and I know all the boys on the team enjoyed the games, even if a lot of us felt it afterwards, having not played in so long! I’m really grateful for Powerleague for putting on the tournament – the money raised will help to get new treatments to blood cancer patients who desperately need them.”