With the end-of-season having afforded us a chance (prompted by our own Ed Couzens-Lake) to think about our all-time City ‘Dream Team’, the second week of the close-season gives the Norfolk Nation another chance to see some of said heroes in action.
Next Tuesday evening Carrow Road plays host to a charity match that sees the hallowed turf graced by a sprinkling of City legends and stars from the TV/entertainment industry.
The charity in question is Norwich City’s official charity partner, the Community Sports Foundation’s Sporting Light Appeal, which helps disadvantaged people and those with disabilities to experience the benefits of sport; keeping them active and happy while improving their health and skills for the future.
The evening has been named Jamie’s Game – a well-deserved homage to Jamie Abbott, a 16-year-old City-supporting footballer with Down’s Syndrome who, as part of the Community Sports Foundation, has become a charity ambassador.
The event has been organised by City ‘Hall of Famer’, Darren Eadie, through Sellebrity – his charity fundraising company – and, in addition to the game itself, there will a host of other family-friendly activities. These include rides, sports challenges, entertainment and exhibitions; the plan being to create a convivial Carrow Road atmosphere that will entice football and non-football fans along to enjoy the evening while contributing to a hugely worthwhile charity.
Darren’s Sellebrity Company was originally set up as an online auction site that raised money by selling unwanted items donated by celebrities.
“When I moved back to Norfolk, after finishing my playing days at Leicester, I had a clear-out and realised a better way than donating items to a charity shop would be to auction them on the internet. I thought if I have things I no longer need then other sports-people and people in the entertainment industry must do too!
“It’s worked really well – early on we raised over £7,000 from items donated by Frank Lampard and since then it’s grown and grown. It works – it’s a win-win because celebrities get to donate things which would otherwise have been thrown away and the charities benefit.”
The Sellebrity website (www.sellebrity.org.uk) shows that, to date, over £68,000 has been raised through the celebrity auctions.
Last year, assisted by ex-AFC Wimbledon player Kevin Cooper, Darren added celebrity football matches to Sellebrity’s ‘portfolio’ – the inaugural game being played at Farnborough Town’s ground on 9 September.
Since then, games have taken place at Staines, Northampton and Birmingham, each one benefiting from more celebrity involvement and bigger crowds. Darren explains that the intention is keep this momentum going and grow the charity year on year.
“The celebrities love it; it gives them a chance to sample life as a pro, with many of them living out a childhood dream. Anthony Costa, from Blue, described the ‘buzz’ of playing in front of a crowd as greater than anything he’d experienced on stage. We now have a pool of around 50 celebrity players to draw on.
“They give their time up for nothing, and come along and have a great time. Next week, thanks to some great support from local businesses (for example the Holiday Inn are donating rooms for some of the players) we’re hoping to put on another good show and raise lots of money – every penny goes to the charity”.
With the likes of Darren Huckerby, Iwan Roberts, Dion Dublin and Dean Ashton joining Darren there’ll be more than enough Canary legends on show to keep the City faithful happy, in addition to celebrities galore.
With Darren (Eadie) captaining one of the teams, the other will be led out by none other than the new face of BT Sport, and former BBC F1 presenter, Jake Humphrey – better known still as a loyal member of the Yellow Army.
Amongst many other stars on show will be Danny Jones and Harry Judd from McFly, boxer Joe Calzaghe, soap-stars Jamie Borthwick and Matt Lapinskas and Olympic boxing bronze medallist Anthony Ogogo. Each team will be a mixture of ex-pros and celebrities to ensure things don’t get too one-sided!
Gates open at 5pm for the ‘Family Zone’ entertainment with the game kicking off at 7pm.
Tickets for Jamie’s Game are £10 for adults and £1 for under-16s, with tickets being available on the night. Alternatively call the Norwich City ticket office on 0844 826 1902
For more details see :www.sellebritysoccer.org.uk/jamiesgame