Bryan Robson will take charge of the Reds' legends team today for the Red Heart United match against Real Madrid at Old Trafford. Here are his programme notes...
Hello and welcome to the Foundation’s Red Heart United match, an event that will hopefully entertain everybody at Old Trafford today and raise plenty of funds in the process.
They say these occasions are all about the taking part, but make no mistake, my lads are here to win and I’m sure the Real Madrid legends have not travelled to Manchester to lose either. Quite simply, top players like these don’t like to get beat whatever the occasion; it’s just their mentality.
We arrive at today’s game 3-2 down after last summer’s first leg at the Bernabeu, a match overflowing in quality and flair. Figo’s goal was absolutely outstanding and Edwin van der Saw made several saves that showed exactly why he was one of the world’s best. In fact, I honestly believe at least 10 of those involved could still be playing today – that’s the standard we’re dealing with.
After the match, I emailed all of the lads to thank them for playing and giving their time to such a great cause. Incredibly, Teddy Sheringham replied in a matter of minutes to apologise for his missed penalty and guarantee his participation this year. That shows just how competitive these guys are and, in the end, I had to remind him that it was all just for charity!
Crucially, our squad is much stronger (and younger) this time around and when I spoke to Emilio Butragueno in March, he was definitely worried about Paul Scholes’ involvement. But as I pointed out, they have Zinedine Zidane among their ranks; one of the greatest ever. Of course, the prospect of seeing those two do battle is mouth-watering and I’m sure they’ll wow the crowds.
In terms of team selection, I have a major headache with so many legends all vying for contention. Thankfully, they are intelligent enough to play in unfamiliar positions, allowing me to field a balanced side. Everyone will feature at some point, there’s no doubt about that, although I’m sure about myself yet. I’ve got my kit, and my no.7 shirt, but playing at my age is increasingly difficult!