|Match of the Day...
Mayor of Wigan Cllr Mark Aldred and Leigh MP Andy Burnham prepare for battle!
Mayor and Minister ‘kick-off’ for football glory
It’s a game of two halves…
And on this occasion one half is Wigan Borough’s first citizen Cllr Mark Aldred, whilst the other half is Leigh MP and Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham.
Now the pair have pitted their wits against each other in a challenge that involves the beautiful game.
Football may be a game of passion that’s played out on the pitch but it’s often the dug-out where the real emotions are felt as managers vie for tactical domination.
Think Ferguson and Wegner; Ancelotti and Mourinho; Benitez and Moyes – only this isn’t for cup glory it’s for an extremely worthy cause.
The Mayor’s First XI will be facing off against Burnham FC on Friday March 19 at Leigh Sports Stadium.
And it’s already turning into a hotly contested affair.
Mayor of Wigan Cllr Aldred explains: “Both Andy and I are big football fans and we thought it would be a great idea to coach our own teams and then have a match to help raise money for my mayoral charity this year.
“It’s going to be a good-natured game for a great cause but I really don’t like to lose. The squad has been training hard and I’m sure we’ll be victorious.”
Both team sheets are closely guarded secrets but rumour has it that a number of MPS and MEPS may be turning out for Mr Burnham.
Whilst the Mayor has been trying to pull a few strings with one of the borough’s better known football teams to see if they can spare a star striker on a free transfer for the evening.
“All I can say is watch this space!” says the Mayor.
But there is already one big name signing we can already reveal – Mayoress Cllr Karen Aldred.
The Mayoress will be lacing up her boots and taking to the field as part of her husband’s team.
Karen says: “I’ll be taking the men on at their own game and there’s no doubting who the winner is going to be. Mark will make a good manager as long as he doesn’t forget who the boss really is!”
This year the Mayor has chosen to raise money for local services for people with Dementia under the banner – Together We Care.
Each £2 entrance to the match will go directly to the charity appeal.
Mr Burnham says he’s delighted to be helping support a very worthy cause but is in no doubt about which will be the winning team.
“It’s a game of two halves and the first 90 minutes is the most important,” he says. “I’ve been working the team hard and we’ll be going all out for victory on the night.
“I wouldn’t describe myself as the ‘special one’ in managerial terms but to quote the great Brian Clough – I wouldn’t say I’m the best manager, but I am the top one!”
Kick-off is at 7pm on Friday March 19 and tickets, priced £2 are available from the Mayor’s Office on 01942 404149.