The 2016 event was held at Newbury Town FC and was a day to remember. The kidz session was a massive hit with ex professionals such as Jimmy Carter (Millwall) and Chris Whyte (Leeds, Birmingham, Charlton) coaching the children and enjoying small sided games.
The Big Match was an honourable draw with plenty of familiar faces such as Razor Ruddock alongside Big Match debutants Kelly Smith (Arsenal & England), Mikele Leigertwood (Reading & Crystal Palace) and Jimmy Glass (who famously scored a goal to keep Carlisle in the league).
Extra Time was a glitz and glamour event hosted by Ampika Pickston (Star of Housewives of Cheshire) and saw Twist & Pulse (Britain’s Got Talent) perform an amazing show with the evening rounded off by Jay James (X Factor) performing a spectacular set.
GRAND TOTAL: £58,000!
2015 saw us take the event to a new area, heading to Farnborough Town FC, attracting fantastic support from a new community. The kidz session was once again a massive hit with children of all ages learning new skills and playing small sided games with the celebrities and ex pros.
Plenty of familiar faces were involved such as Neil 'razor' Ruddock, Ossie Ardiles, Dan Lobb and Simon Thomas, along with some new names such as Darren Anderton, Guy Branston and many more!. The Big Match attracted 500 spectators who created a great atmosphere at Cherrywood Road with goals a plenty!
Extra Time saw Bobby Davro host as The Big Match 2015 drew to a close and yet another fantastic year raising money for our two great charities.
GRAND TOTAL: £30,000!
On May 31st we turned the event into a family fun day and added attractions like bouncy castles, football rodeos, penalty shootouts and we also had the Barclays Premier League Trophy on display.
The target was double the size of the children’s training session. Offering 200 places for local kids to take to the pitch and receive professional coaching. The kids again will be targeted to raise a minimum level of sponsorship, £50.00 each.
Again we had a number of celebrities/personalities and ex footballers involved. This attracted the paying public to attend once more. These included Suzanne Shaw, David Seaman, Ossie Ardiles.Des Walker, Dan Lobb, Sam Attwater plus others.
GRAND TOTAL: £75,000!
The Big Match 2013 took place on the 8th June where over 2000 paying public saw the likes of Ossie Ardiles, Suzanne Shaw, Matt Evers, David Seaman, Ray Parlour, Darren Anderton, Neil “Razor” Ruddock and other celebrities and footballing legends put their boots on. It was shown to millions of viewers a couple of weeks later as a 30 minute show on Sky TV.
We also held a children’s training event before the match, where nearly 100 children from the local community and schools from the Reading and Newbury area got the chance to train on the Madejski pitch and be professionally coached. Every child also raised money to take part.
The Italia Conti performing arts academy also provided pre-match entertainment and put a football themed dance routine together, choreographed by the fantastic Hayley Newton who had previously worked with the likes of Take That. This performance was later aired on a show called ‘School for Stars’ during a primetime afternoon slot on CBBC.
GRAND TOTAL: £65,000!
In 2012, 30 local people took part in the game at The Madejski Stadium, having all pledged to raise a minimum sponsorship for their place on the team sheet. The match was a huge success with everyone having a great time and most importantly it raised nearly £10,000 which was split between the charities.
During 2012/2013 we approached a number of key business contacts and pitched the idea of turning it into an annual event and making it bigger, everybody Neil spoke to saw the potential and agreed to support it.
We now had the backing of Barclays Corporate, The Hilton Hotel - Reading, Volume Media Group, Ridgeway Volkswagen, Tresor Paris, Reading 107fM and Berkshire Media to name but a few, who all went on to play a vital role in the success of The Big Match 2013