Maidenhead United XI v Arsenal Legends: Our reporter on the pitch

Maidenhead United XI v Arsenal Legends: Our reporter on the pitch

Daniel Darlington

Maidenhead United XI v Arsenal Legends: Our reporter on the pitch

More than 500 people turned out to watch Arsenal Legends beat Maidenhead United XI 3-0 in a charity football match at York Road yesterday.

Former Arsenal FC professional Jimmy Carter starred alongside actors including Ralf Little (Royle Family) and Robbie Gee (Mean Machine) for the Legends, while Maidenhead's team included Magpies' first team manager Johnson Hippolyte and former Blackburn striker Simon Garner.

Our reporter Daniel Darlington was part of the Maidenhead team for the day and shares his account of the match.

After years of dreaming I finally got to pull on the famous black and white stripes on Sunday.

Okay, so it wasn't for my beloved Newcastle United, but in a charity match between a Maidenhead United XI and an Arsenal Legends XI at York Road.

I arrived late for the game and my teammates were already lacing up their boots and ready for the pre-match warm up.

I hurriedly changed and dashed out onto the pitch, half tempted to applaud the fans who were banked up in the main stand looking forward to an entertaining match.

After the pre-match handshakes and some friendly banter with the likes of Ralf Little and Giles Alderson the game got underway.

Reporter Daniel Darlington, front row, third left, with reporter Justin Burns, front row, second left, and the Maidenhead United XI team ahead of match against Arsenal Legends


I started on the bench but after around 20 minutes the manager told me to get warmed up. I replaced the Maidenhead United chairman Peter Griffin, who surprisingly had been the best player on the pitch up to that point.

Maidenhead were dominating the first half and I was keen to make a good impression on my team mates. Unfortunately I was a little over exuberant and clattered into the Arsenal right back about 20 seconds after being sent on.

It was a late challenge, I admit. If it hadn't been a friendly match I'd probably have gone in the book. Apparently the Arsenal manager Brian Hornsby was still complaining about the challenge at half time.

I stayed on the field until half time, and despite having good possession we were unable to make the breakthrough.

I started on the left wing again in the second half and was struck by just how fit you have to be to join in with the defense and attack.

I was subbed 10 minutes into the half and from the bench I watched Arsenal take the lead against the run of play. Moments later I was called back into the fray to replace the Magpies manager Johnson 'Drax' Hippolyte who had been the steady composed head in midfield.

I managed to get a few more touches, and was pleased I didn't mess any of them up. But I couldn't prevent Maidenhead losing the game 3-0.

I was pleased with one defensive header, which could easily have been an own goal, and I even managed a shot, but it barely troubled the keeper. Friends in the crowd said I also nearly hit a small child with one of my clearances.

Overall it was a terrific experience. The camaraderie of the Maidenhead team was excellent and I think we were all pleased to play and help raise some money for charity.

See photos from the Maidenhead United XI game against Arsenal Legends

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