Harry Redknapp is back in football management after Men United swooped to secure his services for a special charity football match in support of Prostate Cancer UK.
One of the most recognisable faces along the touchline throughout the past four decades, the 68-year-old will lead a star-studded Men United XI against a squad of Leyton Orient legends at the Matchroom Stadium on Sunday May 31st (3pm) – with actor and campaigner Russell Brand as his assistant boss.
The former West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, AFC Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Southampton and QPR chief returns to his East End roots to pit his wits against Orient legends boss Martin Ling in a match masterminded by mechanic and O’s youth coach Errol McKellar.
Tickets are now on sale for the match, which will see Barry Hearn return as chairman for the day, while the O’s will be skippered by John Mackie as the club’s 2005-06 promotion-winning team reunite for this worthwhile cause alongside ‘super’ Kevin Lisbie.
McKellar’s diagnosis with prostate cancer arrived purely by chance. Prompted to visit his doctor by his wife to cure his persistent snoring, he picked up a leaflet about the disease in the waiting room and discovered he was at higher than average risk of getting prostate cancer.
Almost five years on, the chirpy McKellar has dedicated himself to hammering home the message about a disease that affects one in eight men in the UK, and even more shockingly, one in four black men.
Not only is Errol masterminding the special match day for Prostate Cancer UK, he offers discounts on MOTs in his garage when customers pledge to discuss their prostate cancer risk with their doctor. He remains in touch with many young footballers he’s worked with and offers advice to underprivileged youngsters.
Star names confirmed for the day include former England football stars Trevor Sinclair and Luther Blissett while Bradley Walsh and Ralf Little are set to join Brand from the celebrity world, with many more star signings planned.
Errol said: “In 2011 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and after having the treatments I am cured of the problem but it didn’t just stop there.
“I needed to do something to get this message out there and thanks to Prostate Cancer UK we came up with the idea of having an Orient Legends football match against a celebrity XI at Leyton Orient.
“The Leyton Orient 2005-06 squad is well remembered by the supporters as a big part of the club’s history, and this is the perfect occasion to get them back together.
“Both these teams want to win, but more importantly they are getting together and doing something great to beat prostate cancer. Sport is a fantastic way to do this.
Redknapp, who lost close friend John Bond to the disease, said: “We’ve all had people in our lives that have been affected by prostate cancer. What Errol is doing is amazing, and I’m really pleased to lend my support. Anything we can do to raise awareness has got to be good.
“It will be nice [to be back in management]. I always enjoy these types of games. A few of the guys like Luther [Blissett] and Trevor Sinclair have played for me over the years. It’s always nice to see them lads, and they always enjoy getting their boots on again.
“Hopefully people will come out and support the day and we’ll get some good support for the charity; that’s the all-important thing.”
Tickets for the match are priced at £10 adults and £5 concessions, and are available from www.lofcdirect.co.uk.
Since it was launched 12 months ago, Men United has caught the imagination, and a new zeal for change in men’s health - with more than 200,000 people signing up to pledge support. Men from all walks of life, from footballers to lawyers and politicians to plumbers, have formed a growing army, raising funds to find the answers for the future through research and supporting men now.
People are being urged to search Men United, and do something great with their mates via prostatecanceruk.org/menunited.
*celebrities and former players named have confirmed attendance but that may be subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances