ImageHow would you like to Live the Dream of running out alongside a Club Legend and taking part in a 90 minute match on your team’s hallowed turf?

Since forming in 2001, Football Aid have allowed over 14,000 football fans the chance to Live the Dream in more than 535 charity football matches all over the UK, and over £2M has been paid out or designated as payable to charities in the 13 years since.

The unique concept was the brainchild of businessman and Football Aid Chairman, Craig Paterson.

Funds raised from our events always benefit the work of a charitable project nominated by our partner clubs, as well as projects nominated by Football Aid’s parent charity Field of Dreams.

Football Aid – Player Stories 2001 – 2013

Arsenal: Roy Talbot, the 68 year old former Sunday League player from Welwyn Garden City who hung up his boots for the last time, making his final appearance between the sticks at The Emirates for Arsenal in 2011. Roy was lucky enough to have his grandson as mascot as well.

Blackburn Rovers: Eric Lamb, a Melbourne, Australia based fireman makes the 10,500 miles pilgrimage to play for his hometown club Blackburn Rovers most years. He even scored with a stunning 30 yard strike that flew into the top corner & made our Goal of the Season 2011 shortlist.

Play at Ewood Park

Bolton Wanderers: Maurice Lawson continues to trot out at The Reebok most years; he’s our eldest player at the tender age of 70 years young!

comp pictureBolton Wanderers: Howard Fox flew all the way from Australia to play in goal at Bolton Wanderers in 2009 – he was rewarded for his efforts with the Man of the Match award!

Celtic: David and Paul Walker Lived the Dream in unique style at Celtic Park in 2007, playing with their other Brother, former pro Andy, who starred as a Striker for Celtic, Bolton & Scotland!

ImageEverton: Father and Son Dave and Mike O’Reilly, originally from Liverpool, who have flown over from Orange County, California to play together at Goodison Park 3 years running from 2010-2012. This year their impressive Away team won 8-3!

Liverpool: Nick Carter, a Liverpool fan from Carmarthen, Wales returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan only days before the 2011 game to play alongside his boyhood hero John Barnes at Anfield.

Liverpool: Liverpool fan Paul Hewson played in a match at Anfield in 2013 and recounted his experience after the event:

“You’ve all seen it on telly, maybe lucky enough to see it from the stands but until you have experienced walking down the famous tunnel, touching the “This is Anfield” sign and walking out onto the pitch as a player, only then will you ever come close to the feeling the players get when they play their first game on Anfield [turf].”

Manchester City: Diego Ponzé, a Milan, Italy based Sky Sport 24 journalist, flew over with his own cameraman to film a video diary of his experience in 2011. The 8 min video diary was shown on Italian TV and featured an impromptu interview with former City legend and Football Aid Patron Denis Law!

ManUtdTunnelManchester United: A group of 9 x Italian players celebrated their Stag Party or “Addio Al Celibato” in style by playing together for Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2012.

Tottenham Hotspur: Three London born brothers, Chris, Paul and Matthew Shelley who all played together at White Hart Lane for the 2nd time in 2011 and had the privilege of being managed by Spurs great Ossie Ardiles as well!

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Mark Everiss played 11 consecutive years at Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Molineux Stadium from 2001 – 2011.

Football Aid 2014

Football Aid is back for another season, and you can experience a matchday in the same way as your heroes do every week, in a way that even a club tour can’t match, plus do your bit for charity.

Players gain exclusive access to the pitch and tunnel areas, pull on their own personalised shirt in the official changing rooms, walk down the tunnel to the sound of a cheering crowd and step out onto the hallowed turf, before taking part in a never to be forgotten 90 minute game of football!

82editMatches have been supported by a host of fantastic Football Legends in recent years, with the likes of Denis Law (Football Aid Patron), Danny McGrain (Football Aid Vice Patron), John Barnes, Peter Beardsley, Pat Nevin, Neil Lennon, Ally McCoist, Graeme Le Saux, Ricky Villa, Gary McAllister, Denis Irwin, Ozzie Ardiles, Gary Mabbutt, Teddy Sheringham and many more lending their extra special support by playing alongside or managing the fan teams on their big day.

To secure your place in a 2014 team, visit and register.

You can also follow Football Aid on Twitter – @FootballAid

And on Facebook –

Other Links:

NEAR POST – Mário Lard-el

MarioJardel Brazilian Mário Jardel de Almeida Ribeiro, or ‘Mário Lardel’ as he was known during his time at Bolton, was a legend for Grêmio, being a major player in the squad that won the 1995 Copa Libertadores. Renowned for his exceptional positioning ability, he was one of Europe’s most prolific strikers during his time at FC Porto, Galatasaray, and Sporting CP, scoring 266 goals in 274 games for those clubs. Jardel made his debut for the Brazil national football team in 1996, making a total of 10 appearances and being selected for the 2001 Copa America.

While the 2001–02 season was arguably the pinnacle of Jardel’s career, the next season proved to be the beginning of the end.

A reported move to Real Madrid fell through, and Jardel suffered from depression as a result of this and a failing marriage, which led to him turning to drink and drugs to cope.

Jardel subsequently told an interviewer:

“I only consumed one drug, cocaine, but not while I was playing. I only took it during vacations.

“It all started with bad friendships. Then came my divorce, depression and drugs. This happens a lot in football, but I can’t talk about it.”

Left out of the Brazilian national team for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, despite his prolific goal-scoring abilities, he was unfit at the start of the season and spent the most of it on the injury list. During the Christmas break, he returned to his native Fortaleza, where he injured his knee in a swimming pool fall. He went on to score only nine goals that season.

Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce had the knack of signing fading galacticos and coaxing one or two seasons more of quality football out of them. World Cup winner Youri Djorkaeff and Jay-Jay Okocha were a massive success at Bolton, coming in on frees, and money floating around the Reebok paid the stellar name’s wages. This tactic also paid off with ‘Le Sulk’ Nicolas Anelka, Ivan Campo and Fernando Hierro.

mario_jardelJardel moved to England in August 2003.

This from “Mario Jardel – from European Golden Shoe to Bolton Mediocrity”, by Chris Manning from @LionOfViennaSte:

“Jardel’s Bolton Wanderers career was to prove a disappointment. He was half the player that he had been in the early 2000s – though in some respects he was twice the player. Injury troubles and fitness concerns led to the gaining of an unfortunate nickname ‘Lardel’ being a pun on his apparent weight problems. Off the pitch he was known as a quiet and unassuming character, on the pitch he was similarly quiet. His time at the club is best remembered for two moments. A brilliant headed goal against Liverpool at Anfield helped Wanderers on the way to the Carling Cup Final that year, which compared with an incredible miss against Gillingham in an earlier round showed the frustration that the fans felt. Clearly he was a top striker, but his troubles had caught up with him.”

Fat, unfit and unhappy, Bolton loaned Jardel out to Italian side Ancona, who sent him back. He was eventually picked up by Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina on a free from the Wanderers. Subsequent clubs included Goiás Esporte Clube, Beira Mar, Anorthosis Famagusta, St. Mirren, Newcastle United Jets, Criciúma, Ferroviário,  América de Fortaleza,  Esporte Clube Flamengo and Bulgarian club Cherno More Varna. It was reported in November 2010 that Jardel had left Cherno More due to concerns pertaining to the cold weather conditions in Bulgaria.

Jardel seems to blame everyone but himself, however, saying:

“”When I went to some smaller teams, how could I score if there were no players that could put the ball at my feet? It all got worse and the problems snowballed.”