Manchester United legends set to play at Emley AFC

Heading for Emley: Wes Brown, who will be in the Manchester United Legends team. Picture: John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images
Heading for Emley: Wes Brown, who will be in the Manchester United Legends team. Picture: John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Emley AFC have been able to put disappointment over a couple of postponements to one side with news that the club will be hosting a game involving a Manchester United Legends XI next spring.

The game will see an Emley All Stars team, including guest players, take on the Manchester United Legends at the Fantastic Media Stadium on Sunday, April 5 (kick-off 2pm).

General admission standing and seating tickets are available for the match exclusively through Eventbrite and gates will be open from 12pm. Premium tickets are also available and include a seat during the match, guaranteed access to either the Emley AFC Sports Bar (located within stadium) or the Wentworth Sports Bar (depending on which option you choose), plus the opportunity to meet a player.

The Premium tickets are limited to 140 and will be offered on a first come first served basis. Corporate tickets and sponsorship opportunities are also available directly through Emley AFC. Contact legends@emleyafc.co.uk for information.

First player to be confirmed for the Man United Legends team is Wes Brown, a treble-winning centre-back who won five Premier League, two FA Cup and two Champions League titles in his time with the Old Trafford club.

He will be joined by Champions League, League Cup and Championship winner Jonathan Greening as well as MUFC academy graduate and FA Cup and UEFA Super Cup winning left-back Lee Martin.

Set to play too is winger Ben Thornley, who also had a spell with Huddersfield Town.

The Terriers are still a club close to the 44-year-old’s heart.

He said: “I’m usually at Manchester United’s games for work with MUTV, but the very next result I look for is Huddersfield Town.

“I had three really good years there. The first year we were close to challenging for a play-off place. In the second year under Steve Bruce we just missed out. With the third year we ended up getting relegated and another change of manager from Steve Bruce to Lou Macari.”

Thornley was an ever-present in the United youth team that won the FA Youth Cup in 1992, appearing alongside future stars including David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.

He went on to make his senior debut in February 1994, before suffering an injury two months later that would curtail his United career.

Thornley’s time with Town coincided with Emley’s famous FA Cup tie with West Ham United, although despite frequent friendlies between the West Yorkshire clubs this will be his first time on the field against Emley.

He is back in the fold at Old Trafford and combines a match day hospitality role with media duties for MUTV. In conjunction with another former Red Devil, Russell Beardsmore, he currently co-ordinates matches for the Man United Legends. Emley will be the latest destination for the side, following on from trips to Malta, Bulgaria, Singapore and Malaysia as well as regular games in the North West and rest of the UK.

A couple of guest players have been brought in by Thornley “to do the hard yards” in Michael Gray, who played for Sunderland, Leeds United and Blackburn Rovers, and Lee Hendrie, of Aston Villa and Derby County fame.

Further names are to be confirmed over the coming weeks for both Emley’s All Stars and the Legends and Thornley is promising that those attending what is expected to be a sell-out match will see some good and prestigious players.

He added: “We want it to be enjoyable, we also want people to see a decent game of football from a group of ex-pros. And that is what you can expect.

“There’s certainly not going to be any stupid tackles. Certainly not on our part!”

Emley’s first team, meanwhile, have been left frustrated at two games being postponed in the last week. After Saturday’s home clash with Ashton Town was a victim of the rain, Emley were hoping to be back in NW Counties League action on Tuesday at Prestwich Heys, but that was also postponed due to waterlogging with the match referee finding two areas of concern on the pitch.

Weather permitting, Emley will be hoping to return to the pitch this Saturday when due to be away to Nelson as they look to close the gap on First Division North leaders Lower Breck.