sands united

An All-Stars TV side beat Sands United 4-2 at AFC Monton in a charity football game that raised funds for charity Sands UK.

The TV side features the likes of Alan Halsall and former professional Liam Dickinson in a well-fought game on Sunday afternoon.

The match was about more than just football as Sands United are made up of bereaved fathers and family members that have suffered the loss of a baby, and they come together through football to try to make a difference and help other people who have suffered similar experiences.

The match in action at AFC Monton

A raffle was held on the day which raised around £420 for the charity, with the club AFC Monton donating all proceeds to Sands UK.

Founder of Sands United Stockport Joel Kelly played the majority of the match and admits he was disappointed to lose the game, but acknowledges the day was much more than football.

He said: “It was a tough game. We made a lot of changes at half time which didn’t help. But they played really well and deserved to win, although it’s a tough one to take.

“There was a few tackles flying about, and I didn’t expect it to be that competitive, but it made for a good game and everyone enjoyed it.


“Every day, every week it’s all about raising awareness. It’s why we do it. It’s so we can help other guys.

“Obviously days like this- in front of a couple hundred are great, everyone knows why they’re here and what we’re about.”

A crowd of about 100 witnessed the game at New Alder Park, in what is likely to become an annual game between the sides.

The TV All squad

The TV All-Stars team featured Coronation Street, which is filmed in Salford, actor Alan Halsall, who plays Tyrone in the soap, and he also admitted it was a great day for the charity.

He said: “It was a heavy pitch, but we got the win in the end so I’m happy with that.

“It was competitive but I was struggling- too many beers at the Manchester Derby yesterday so it was hard work that.

Alan Halsall leading out the All-Stars TV team

“Today though was about 22-25 lads all coming together to play football for a good cause- what more do you want? It was great.”

The All-Stars fell behind in the game but responded before halftime to go in level at the break.

They come out in the second half improved following a flurry of substitutions to grab the goals and ultimately the win.

Salford-born Dickinson, a former professional player at clubs such as Barnsley and Southend, was competitive throughout and admits the Sands story is one close to his heart.

He commented: “It was a good game, two good sides in tough boggy conditions but the lads got stuck in.

“The main thing though was raising money for a good cause. For me today it’s nothing about the win it was all about the cause.

Salford-born Liam Dickinson made the raffle draw at the end of the game in the AFC Monton clubhouse

“It’s something that’s close to my heart, and that’s the main thing. Hopefully, we can get something arranged for next year because the Sands lads are a top bunch that have been through a lot together.

“To form a team and them doing what they’re doing is fantastic and inspirational. So today was just great to be a part of”

The game was played at New Alder Park in Monton, in what was the first event that took place since the club was granted its new premises licence.

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AFC Monton’s home pitch at New Alder Park

The club has hosted events like this before and if anything like Sunday is to go by- they will host more.

The Salford club has recently introduced a new open age women’s team to the club, and they won 8-0 on the opposite pitch just before the charity game.

Those players and a number of spectators managed to grab photographs and autographs with the stars, who stayed behind after the game to socialise in the clubhouse.

AFC Monton’s chairman Kieran Rabbitt was delighted with how the day went and hopes this can be a kickstart for the club to host similar events.

He said: “It was fantastic. It’s a sign of things to come. We don’t usually do things this late in the year but we’ve been blessed with the weather today. As a result, I think we’ll have many more events in the winter months as well as the summer months.

Spectators watch on

“Everyone enjoyed themselves, the clubhouse is full. We had a good raffle which has gone to a great charity in Sands and hopefully we can have a collaboration with them going forward.

“We can build as a club ourselves now. A lot of people don’t know we’re even here! I’ve spoke to a few people who had never been here in their life! For us, it’s been fantastic. We’ve even been approached to have more teams to play here.

“The girls played well in the morning, which is fantastic in only their second game here, we’ve had a great day charity wise in the afternoon, so we’ve given back to the community again, which is nice.”

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