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TV Land: A fame of two halves.

Byline: Nicola Methven and Polly Hudson

IT is modestly billing itself as the biggest sports and reality event of the year. And, judging by the names signing up to star in Sky One's The Match, it just might be...

The series pitches a gang of top celebs against some of the biggest names in football history.

So far the list of former soccer stars includes Gazza, Kenny Dalglish, Peter Shilton and John Barnes. And their captain is set to be none other than legendary Manchester United star Eric Cantona. Not bad, eh?

They will line up against a squad of 18 celebs who rather fancy their own keepy-uppy abilities.

Last night, Sky and programme makers Endemol were remaining tight-lipped on who had been approached. But we have it on good authority that the stars are likely to include top popster Robbie Williams - who has been asked to become team captain - crooner Rod Stewart, Corrie's Bradley Walsh, funnyman Angus Deayton and former Royle Family favourite Ralf Little.

Our man in the dug-out points out: "We're after celebs who think they can play football - it's as simple as that. Remember, it's not often you get a chance to play against the likes of Gazza and Cantona - however big a star you are."

The series, hosted by Ulrika Jonsson - no doubt because of the deep knowledge of the beautiful game she acquired while involved with Stan Collymore and Sven - will be screened every night for a week from October 3.

The celebs will spend most of the week training like billy-oh at Newcastle United's state of the art football academy.

Under the watchful eye of a proper manager and professional coaches, they will practise their dribbles, headers, penalties and crosses around the clock (let's face it, they'll need to).

Slackers will be voted off by the viewers until they are left with the lucky blighters who will take on the "Legends XI" in a proper match in a proper footie stadium. The two sides will go head to head in a live game produced by Sky Sports, in fact it will be just like a game in the REAL Premiership.

To be screened on October 10, it will be held at Newcastle United's famous St James' Park ground in front of a capacity crowd of 52,000 supporters.

Hopefully, a few more will watch on telly too.


IN THE BAG: How Robbie, Rod, Gazza and Eric could line up
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 31, 2004
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