Lise Lyng Falkenberg's Point of View

Friday, May 31, 2013

Footy 4 Harry

In 2009 the 9 year old Harry Moseley from Birmingham, UK, set up the campaign Help Harry Help Others (HHHO) after his friend Robert Harley became very ill, suffering from brain tumour. Harry himself was a brain tumour patient and during the next 2 years he raised over £650,000 for research into brain tumours. Tragically Harry lost his battle against cancer in October 2011, following his friend Robert, who had passed away 4 weeks after Harry had set up his campaign. Although Harry is no more, HHHO lives on, raising money and increasing awareness of cancer. Because of the many celebrities who took to Harry and his campaign, HHHO has become known world wide and today not only Brits, but people from all over the world support it, me included.
I've been supporting the charity since 2010, buying Harry's special bracelets, donating to "Diving for Harry" and attending last year's inaugural Harry Moseley Charity Ball in Birmingham. When I learned that there was going to be a charity football match called "Footy 4 Harry" on St. Andrew's Stadium on May 18, of course I had to come, as my daughter and I would be in Birmingham anyway, it being my birthday on May 17.
As I live in Denmark, I had to pick up our tickets at St. Andrew's, as Birmingham City Football Club doesn't send tickets abroad like their rivals Aston Villa Football Club does. The tickets had to be picked up after 9 a.m., so my daughter and I were there around 10.30. Everything seemed closed and we couldn't figure out where to pick up the tickets, so we went to the Kop Reception to ask and were pointed in the right direction by a very nice steward. I think his name was John. When we had picked up our tickets, he came to ask if everything was okay and he introduced us to Georgie Moseley, Harry's mother, and arranged for us to go upstairs and have coffee in the Legend Suite and watch the volunteers play. In the Legend Suite I said hello to PJ Ellis, whom I had met last year at the Harry Moseley Charity Ball. Today he was goalkeeper for the HHHO volunteer team.
My daughter and I were then led outside into a box in the Kop Stand to watch different Virgin teams play against each other. The matches were rather short; only 2 x 10 minutes. We also watched HHHO play against a team named Virgin B2, but although we did everything to cheer HHHO on, they lost the game.
 At around 1 p.m. the fun fair in front of the stadium opened and my daughter and I left the Legend Suite to check out the rides and have a bit to eat. It had been rather cold and windy in the box, so it was nice to get something hot to eat. Furthermore my daughter enjoyed the rides, whereas I was content with buying a new Harry Moseley bracelet (I have 3 now) and having a stroll around.
 The celebrities started turning up and my daughter and I went to have a look at them outside the Kop Reception. I must admit that being Danish, I hardly knew any of the celebrities. There were a few boxers and rugby players that I knew and then of course the Phelps twins from Harry Potter, and I recognised the two team managers, former football players Ian Taylor and Michael Johnson, as well, but the rest… Most of them seemed to be from "The Only Way Is Essex", "Made In Chelsea" or "X Factor", so I had absolutely no idea who they were!
Anyway, we arrived just in time for the Phelps twins. I've met them several times before in both the UK and in Denmark, and this time I got a few good pics, especially of Oliver.
The kick off was at 3 p.m. so we found our seats half an hour before. They were situated in the Kop Stand, in the row below the box where we had been sitting when we watched the volunteers play! These new seats weren't as cold as the ones in the box, though, and we enjoyed watching the teams warm up.
Just before 3 p.m. the teams came back on to the pitch and there was a minute's silence for Harry before the game started. It was fun watching the match, but also a bit confusing, because the names of the teams had been mixed up. Michael Johnson's team played in the blue home kits whereas Ian Taylor's team played in the white away kits, quite fittingly as Michael Johnson is a former Birmingham City player and Ian Taylor Aston Villa. It said in the souvenir programme that Johnson was managing the "Harry's Heroes" team and Taylor "The Moseley Mob" team and as such "Harry's Heroes" were listed first on the scoreboard, but… Whenever The Mosley Mob scored, the goal was credited to Harry's Heroes and the other way around. It was very confusing, at least until I saw a list of the players, where somebody - incorrectly - had named Johnson's team "The Moseley Mob" and Taylor's "Harry's Heroes". So whenever it said on the scoreboard that Harry's Heroes had scored, it was actually Ian Taylor's team and not Michael Johnson's and Taylor's team scored a lot, winning the game 12-2 over Johnson's!
Although it was a friendly charity game, the majority of the spectators cheered Johnson's team on, this being the "Blues" team. Personally I was quite happy with Taylor's team winning, as I'm a Villa fan - but I made sure not to tell anybody! As for the players, I don't know if they had any connection to Blues or Villa except for the Phelps twins where James is Blues and Oliver Villa as they explained on the big screen during half time. James didn't play during the first half anyway, as he was injured, but he went on the pitch halfway into the second half. His twin brother Oliver played most of the game except for the last 20 minutes of the first half.
Apart from the twins I only recognised a few of the other players on the pitch, namely boxers Nathan Cleverly and Joe Calzaghe, who both played for Johnson's team, and rugby player Andy Goode, who played for Taylor's team. Furthermore Taylor's team had a great goalkeeper, whose name was Stevie Ayton. According to the programme, he's a reality TV star.
The game ended just before 5 p.m. and the celebrities then came over to the Kop Stand dugout where fans were able to get autographs and have their photos taken with their idols. It was quite chaotic, so the majority of the spectators left the stadium by then, us included, and we never saw the winning team get their trophy. In fact we didn't even know there would be a trophy ceremony, as it didn't say so in the programme. Oh well, despite these small glitches, we had a great day out at St. Andrews - which feels a bit weird to say when you're a Villa fan! Thank you to John (if that is his name), Georgie Moseley and Peter Ellis for making the day even more special.

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