Sunday 24 April brings together two of United’s favourite ever teams as the title winners from the 1994/95 campaign go up against the champions from the 2005/06 season in what is building up to be a mouth-watering encounter here at Brunton Park.
And the enjoyable event - with a positive response suggesting that a decent crowd is expected - comes with a serious backdrop as the organisers look to raise funds for the fantastic former players’ fund, which has already provided help and vital assistance in recent times.
Heading up the respective teams will be Mick Wadsworth and Paul Simpson, with a healthy smattering of much-loved and familiar faces from the respective eras competing for the bragging rights in what could well be a full-blooded, teeth-grinding, leg-smashing encounter.
Organisers Colin Carter, Chris Lumsdon and Paul Murray set the wheels in motion on the clash hoping to build on the success of the recent nostalgia-filled event at the Harraby Catholic Club, which brought the mid-90’s heroes back together in Cumbria for the first time, and with the heart-warming and emotional response to the Tony Hopper memorial fixture still fresh in the mind.
Paul Murray said: “As well as being a great way to recognise two groups of players who did so much with the club, and a chance to celebrate the successful periods we all look back on so fondly with them, it’s fantastic for us to be able to highlight the former players’ fund and the work we do with that.
“It isn’t a fund that’s been publicised too much but it’s something a lot of clubs do, and it’s something we’re passionate about. It’s been utilised as recently as during the pandemic, where we helped an ex-player who was struggling.
“People fall on hard times, including ex-footballers, and if we’re in a position to help, in this case by playing a game that will also bring enjoyment to so many other people, then it has to be worth doing.”
Mick Wadsworth’s team romped to the Division Three title back in the summer of 1995, having taken the club to its first ever Wembley appearance (losing by the first ever cup final golden goal, in extra time, to Birmingham) and the group raised over £10,000 for Eden Valley Hospice at their most recent reunion.
Meanwhile Simmo’s heroes from 2005/06 smashed League Two to pieces as they made it a second consecutive promotion - along with the title - to take the club to League One, having made their own Trophy final appearance at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in a thrilling meeting with Swansea.
Speaking about the players’ fund, Colin Carter (who will be hosting the April event in his usual shy way utilising the tannoy system) said: “It’s something I’m passionate about.
“Derek Walsh has also done a lot of work on it, and it’s something we will continue to do to make sure that funds are topped up for those unexpected times when it’s most needed.
“We managed to help someone a few years ago and it’s all moved on from there. If we can help even just one more of our former heroes going forward then I think everyone will agree that’s a good thing.
“We’ve had people struggling financially, or with mental health issues, and in other ways, and if you can give them a little bit of a break from their worries it means so much. That can be by helping with bills or assisting in getting advice - anything they need.
“They always say that charity begins at home, and we’re so pleased that we’re able to offer this kind of help to people who put smiles on our faces when they represented us.”
A host of familiar faces from both squads will be turning out on the hallowed turf once again, and tickets for the event are on sale now (B and C stands are on sale first).
The Sunset Suite and Sporting Inn will be open from 12pm on the day, and kick off in the big game will be at 1pm.
Purchase tickets in-person at the ticket office here at Brunton Park during normal working hours, over the phone by calling 0330 094 5930, or online HERE.
Prices are £6 for anyone aged 16 and over, and £4 for under-16s.
Sunday 24 April, 94/95 Legends v 05/06 Legends, Brunton Park, kick off 1pm