Players turn out in force to remember Aston Villa hero John Robson at charity game

Former Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Walsall stars will be in attendance at a charity football match in the West Midlands this weekend.

John and Gary Robson
John and Gary Robson

The match, taking pace at Boldmere St Michaels on Saturday, will honour former Aston Villa and Derby County hero John Robson while raising funds for the MS Society.

Gary Robson has organised a match between ex-professionals at Boldmere's Church Road ground, kick off 3pm and subject to change, players set to take part include ex-Baggies Ian Hamilton, Daryl Burgess and Lee Hughes, ex-Villa aces Darius Vassell, Tony Daley, Garry Thompson and Andy Blair plus former Walsall stars Darren Byfield and Martin O'Connor. Physio Jim Walker will also be in attendance.

All the proceeds will go to the Sutton Coldfield branch of the MS Society, with the match also a chance to remember Gary’s dad John, who died in May 2004 after a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis.

Gary, who now lives in Dorset, said: “I came up with the idea because my dad, who left us 18 years ago now, was a big part of the Sutton branch. Charities are struggling at the moment and I wanted to do something to help. I have some contacts and spoke to some and it started snowballing.

"A football match seemed like the perfect fundraiser and will feature ex-professionals. Gary Shaw has agreed to manage one of the sides and Brian Little the other."

Gary added: "Dad played under Brian Clough and Peter Taylor at Derby and he learned his trade with them.

“He made his debut as a teenager and learned from some top players like Dave MacKay, and they won the First Division in 1972.

“He got signed by Vic Crowe at Villa and helped them win the League Cup twice in 1975 and 1977 under Ron Saunders. He had a very successful career but was then diagnosed with MS in 1978. His life was cut short by this horrible disease. It was desperately sad.

“But he was involved with the Sutton Coldfield branch of the MS Society and so I wanted to help them. It’s been nice because a lot of people have been rallying around for the cause."

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