Over 35,000 fans were treated to a music and football extravaganza at Old Trafford on Saturday with The Rivals coming out on top against the Reds at the inaugural United Relief event.
The day was kicked-off by United fan Tinchy Stryder, who was also part of the Reds' side, with The Hoosiers, The Saturdays and legendary crooner Tony Christie also on hand to entertain the crowd during the pre-match concert. Sir Alex Ferguson made a special appearance soon after and greeted both teams before kick-off.
A host of familiar faces took to the field for the match with the likes of Jaap Stam, Ronny Johnsen, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke back in the red shirt once more. They were joined by celebrity United fans Ronan Keating, X Factor runner-up Olly Murs and Max Beesley to take on a team made up of rival ex-players and fans, including Ian Rush, Peter Beardsley and comedian (and City fan) Jason Manford.
An entertaining first half was dominated by United who were thwarted by a superb display from Dave Beasant in the Rivals’ goal. The former Chelsea stopper made a host of fine saves, the pick of which was a one-handed stop from point-black range from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who looked sharp throughout.
Having withstood United’s first half pressure, the Rivals began the second half with a renewed vigour and took the lead almost immediately through United fan Ralf Little who prodded the ball past Reds’ goalkeeper, er, Clayton Blackmore!
Ugo Ehiogu doubled the lead a few minutes later after bundling Rushden's cross over the line, but it wasn't long before the former Aston Villa defender scored at the wrong end when he planted a header past Beasant. United made it 2-2 thanks to an injury-time penalty from Quinton Fortune meaning the game would be decided by a shoot-out.
Despite a brilliant performance from United goalkeeper Pascal Olmeta, who saved no fewer than four spot-kicks, the Rivals came out on top after Beasant denied Ricky Whittle in sudden-death.
Earlier, the first penalty of the day had come from an unlikely source when United legend Sir Bobby Charlton rolled back the years to fire a half-time spot-kick past Beasant much to the delight of the crowd.
Things may not have gone United’s way in the end, but a great afternoon was had by all and, most importantly, the event