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Soccer Aid: A Legacy of Giving

Two decades ago, Robbie Williams and football agent Kenneth Shepherd attended a charity match at Newcastle’s St James’ Park stadium. Inspired by the event, they envisioned a similar spectacle to raise funds and awareness for children in need across the globe. This vision materialised into Soccer Aid for Unicef in 2006, initially intended as a one-off event. Fast forward 18 years and 13 star-studded matches, Soccer Aid has raised an astounding £106 million for children in some of the world's most deprived areas.

Sunday’s match at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, witnessed by a packed crowd and 3.6 million TV viewers, was a testament to Soccer Aid's enduring appeal. England's 6-3 victory over the World XI, their first win since 2018, alone raised £15 million for Unicef. Reflecting on this success, Robbie Williams expressed his gratitude: “Thank you for your kind messages about Soccer Aid. Un-f-ing-believable. Just absolutely incredible. So proud and so pleased.”

The impact of Soccer Aid is profound, both in terms of funds raised and awareness generated. Robbie Williams, who began working with Unicef in 1998 and became an ambassador two years later, has seen his brainchild grow beyond expectations. "Soccer Aid has spiralled into something I couldn’t have ever imagined," he remarked. "It's helped so many people and raised incredible awareness for Unicef."

Kenneth Shepherd, son of ex-Newcastle owner Freddy Shepherd, recounted the origins: “The idea was conceived when Dad and I met Robbie at The Match in 2004. Suddenly, Soccer Aid was born, turning into a global initiative for children around the world.”

Sunday’s match was not just a fundraiser but also a source of entertainment, featuring moments like Tommy Fury's comedic missteps. Robbie Williams' pride in the event was palpable: “Soccer Aid has teams in place to work year-round to organise the event and help distribute the funds with Unicef.”

Steve Halls, founder of NexxtGen Football, shares in this pride, emphasising the importance of such initiatives. "Soccer Aid represents the spirit of football - uniting for a greater cause. As we gear up for our new season, it's inspiring to see how football can make such a significant impact off the pitch."

The light-hearted moments, such as Tommy Fury's humorous on-field antics and Jose Mourinho’s pitch invasion to tackle singer Olly Murs, add to the event's charm. But beneath the fun lies a serious commitment to making a difference. Robbie Williams noted, “Donations could help Unicef provide life-saving food supplies, ensure children receive vaccinations, and help get children back to school.”

The competitive spirit among participants, from ex-footballers to celebrities, enhances the event's appeal. Notably, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard and his uncle, Harry Redknapp, brought professionalism and a desire to win to the England team.

Soccer Aid’s journey from a single match to a global fundraising phenomenon underscores the power of football to effect change. Robbie Williams, a British icon and a dedicated philanthropist, has created a legacy that will continue to inspire and support children worldwide.

Join us in supporting this incredible cause. Donate to Soccer Aid and help Unicef continue their vital work.


Steve Halls is an FA qualified football coach and football consultant, working at grassroots level but hugely passionate about the beautiful game as a whole. Steve works closely with clubs in his local area and offers consultancy services, mentorship, and player representation.


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