The Legends

Thursday 15 May 2008 7:00pm – 10:00pm

England have the chance to salvage some footballing pride when some of the biggest names from the last two decades of English international football take on legends from around Europe in three games across the summer, live on ITV4, starting with the Auld Enemy – Scotland.

The two teams will play for the second Alan Ball Memorial Cup at Southampton’s St. Mary’s Stadium – a club the 1966 World Cup Winner enjoyed successful spells as both a player and a manager, and built a instant rapport with the fans. The inaugural Alan Ball Memorial Cup saw England defeat The Rest of the World 4-2 at Milton Keynes’ stadium:mk in July 2007.

And in one of this game’s many sub-plots, two of football’s most competitive characters – Peter Reid and Graeme Souness – go head-to-head in the dugout.

The pair met seven times in the Merseyside derby as players, with Souness’s Liverpool and Reid’s Everton both winning two games apiece while the rest were drawn.

Reid was well-known as a combative midfielder during his time at Bolton, Manchester City, and especially Everton in the 1980s, where he was part of the squad that won the league, FA Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup. Such was his impact that in 2006 he was named an ‘Everton Giant’. As a manager, he finished one place above Manchester United in his first season in charge of Manchester City. He’s also taken the managerial hotseat at Sunderland, Leeds and Coventry City.

His opposite number Souness is one of the most decorated players in the modern game, with three European cups, five League titles, two Scottish league titles, the Coppa Italia and nine cups in assorted countries to his name. He’s been named as one of Liverpool supporters’ top ten ‘Players Who Shook The Kop’, and has been elected into the English, Scottish, and Rangers Halls of Fame. As a manager, he’s taken charge of Liverpool, Rangers, Galatasaray, Newcastle, Blackburn, Southampton, and Benfica.

The playing line-up is no less mouthwatering, with former England and Manchester United captain ‘marvel’ Bryan Robson leading out an all-star English team

Arsenal legends Paul Merson, Ray Parlour, and Nigel Winterburn, former PFA Player of the Year Les Ferdinand, Premier League winner Graeme Le Saux, former Rangers keeper Chris Woods and one of football’s most colourful characters, and Nottingham Forest and Liverpool legend, Stan Collymore among the big names lining up for England.

Peter Reid will have a squad of 18 former professional footballing legends to pick from and will be running the rule over his charges before selecting his strongest eleven to face the Tartan Army.

And Reid is determined to put one over his old rival. When Souness was appointed Scotland manager, Reid said: “If I didn’t want to lose before, that feeling has doubled since Souey was appointed.”

His opposite number is also determined not to lose, and said: “We’d want to beat England if it was a game of tiddlywinks, so you can imagine how much we want to beat them on their own soil.”

With an England versus Scotland friendly ruled out until at least 2010, and no home nations involved in Euro 2008, this is the match where national pride – not to mention bragging rights – is at stake.

Craig Doyle will host proceedings, while Robbie Earle will be on hand to offer expert analysis. The Legends: England vs Scotland match will also feature innovative coverage, including dressing room cameras and a fully-miked up ref – Dermot Gallagher.

ITV4 is exclusively broadcasting the game live in the UK with the action simulcast on ITV4 will also broadcast two further legends games against Ireland on July 3rd and Germany on August 7th at two yet-to-be-confirmed football grounds.

Before each Legends game, ITV4 will broadcast a documentary the day before focusing on the build up to the game. Ahead of the Alan Ball Memorial Cup II, we’ll also hear from the Ball family as they remember one of English football’s most successful and well-loved players.

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1