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VIDEO: Harrogate’s Royal Hall turned into theatre of dreams

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Playacting was finally the aim of the game when more than 25 ex-footballers turned Harrogate’s Royal Hall into a real theatre of dreams.

Legends of football from across the world came to Harrogate to play against each other at the traditional theatre on Bank Holiday Monday.

The Royal Hall transformed its dancefloor into a make-shift football pitch for charity.

Four teams, including Italy, Great Britain, Holland and an All Stars team played out a tournament on a small, four-a-side pitch.

The former professionals included Leeds United players Danny Mills, Darren Huckerby, Gary McAllister and Nigel Martyn and England internationals Dion Dublin and Lee Hendrie.

Canadian goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar, who was part of the great Liverpool team during the 1980s, also took part in the unique exhibition for Italy.

He said: “You come into this venue and you marvel at the architecture.

“The way they have lifted the seats for the grass, it’s fantastic.”

More than 100 people watched the legends battle against each other at the invitation-only event.

World Freestyle Football champion John Farnworth also entertained the audience with his tricks during the gaps in the football.

The event was organised by ex-Holland Premier League footballer Kenneth Monkou.

It raised money for Sporting Chance, One in a Million, Show Racism the Red Card and ABF, the Soldiers Charity.

Mr Monkou, who played for Feyenoord, Chelsea, Southampton and Huddersfield Town during a 15-year playing career before settling in Harrogate, said: “The tennis players play in the Royal Albert Hall, I thought, how come footballers can’t play in them?

“People used to call football players actors. I thought, why not take them to play in the theatre with a difference.

“We have had a proper grass pitch so when you walk in you can smell the grass.

“It’s completely surreal.”

The exhibition games will now be taken around the country to continue raising money for the charities.

“Anything we raise is good,” added Mr Monkou.

“This is just the start. The idea is to take it around the country to venues just like this.”

Mr Monkou also staged the Yorkshire v France friendly at Harrogate Town’s CNG Stadium, which raised more than £3,000 for ABF last week.

 

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