The ATSA (Atherton & Tyldesley Sports Association) team, formed of primary school teachers from around the local area, beat the All Stars team, formed of mainly actors from various soaps, 4-1 in the charity football game.
The organiser of the match, Karen Trenbath, 43, says: “I’ve organised a charity football match before, so decided to do it again for Cash for Kids, because not a lot of people are aware of how much they help local charities.
“All the money raised goes to disadvantaged and disabled children across the north west, so it’s a charity I wanted to support this time. I prefer to raise money for the north west than a national charity, because then at least you can see where the money’s going.”
At half-time, the ATSA team already had a 2-1 lead, but really pushed in the second half, providing them with their 4-1 win.
The match was quite an active one, with a few scuffles here and there, as well as a red card being given to a member of the All Stars team.
Ralf Little, actor and All Stars team member says: “It got a bit heated; I don’t think I’ve ever seen a red card in a charity game before, so that shows it was properly competitive.
“It’s not my game, I like to smash people, but as long as I get the ball first, so I tend to not get booked too much.”
Mr Little also explains: “I’ve played with the All Stars for a few years now, and we go around raising money for great causes, children’s charities, fire service, that kind of thing, so when I was asked to come here, it was great”.
During his trip from London, he was visiting his mum, who lives locally, and jokes: “I get to play football, raise money for charity, and keep my mum happy – so everybody wins”.
Best known for his roles in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, and The Royle Family, Mr Little is now playing an American man in a play at The National Theatre, and will feature on Borderline, broadcasting on Channel 5 in June.
ATSA was set up in 2011 by St George’s school headteacher, 38-year-old Mark Grogan, and it was because of the teachers involved that various primary school children from across Atherton and Tyldesley got the mascot positions of the game.
Mr Grogan, who competed in the game himself, says: “It’s worthwhile supporting not only the local community, which is what all members of the ATSA team do in their day jobs, and their voluntary roles – but also for looking a little bit broadly, and looking at what we can support beyond our immediate locality with the Cash for Kids charity.”
ATSA, in their sixth year, now hold over 50 different sporting events annually, across around 32 various sports activities.
Two other players in the ATSA team, Neil Cooke and Jamie McMahon, also understand how important it is to support charity, and both say that children from the classes they teach were coming to watch the game.
Mr McMahon, aged 43, says: “We’re all teachers, so we want to do something with our jobs that matter, you know, we like putting a bit back, so if we can raise money for Cash for Kids as well, then it’s a bonus”.
He adds: “My own children are going to be mascots, so it should be a good family day out for all the communities in Atherton and Tyldesley”.
Mr Cooke, 28 and captain of the ATSA team, seconds what Mr McMahon says, by adding: “Some pupils have said they’re going to be here cheering for me, so I’ll have to listen out for them.
“I think a couple want to see me lose just so they can laugh at me, but most of them are supporting.”
Andrew Whyment, the actor who plays Kirk in Coronation Street, and who played as part of the All Stars team says: “I always get involved with the All Stars, I’ve played for them for a few years now, so if I can get down here, I always come and play the games”.
Mr Whyment is about to sign for his eighteenth year on the soap, and brought his wife and children to watch him compete in yesterday’s match.
He did explain, however, that he does not teach his children football, because he says: “I’ll stick to my acting, I’m not a great footballer”.
To see the match yesterday, there was a very reasonable £3 entry fee for adults, and £1 for children.
There was also a raffle prize of two return flight tickets to any destination (excluding New York) donated by the All Stars team’s sponsor, Jet2 Holidays.
Cash for Kids helps all young people aged under 18 years old who are disabled, disadvantaged or suffering from abuse.
The charity raised over £20 million last year, and continue their good work based across 22 areas of the UK.