Soccer Aid founded in pub by Stokie mates Robbie Williams and Jonny Wilkes

It was back in the noughties when Stoke-on-Trent mates Robbie Williams and Jonny Wilkes came up with the idea of Soccer Aid - during an afternoon down the pub. Robbie was a UNICEF ambassador and thought he would stage the fund-raiser just once.

But Soccer Aid is now back for its 13th edition at Stamford Bridge tonight.

The recent Netflix documentary - Robbie Williams - highlighted the friendship between the two Stokies.

Robbie told viewers: "Jonny is my best friend. He's a moving, walking, talking part of Stoke-on-Trent, that came with me everywhere that made me laugh and made me feel safe and made me feel that the part of me that existed before I joined Take That was still there."

Referring to Robbie's fame, Jonny added: "It's always weird when little ol' Rob gets up in front of all these people, and they just adore him. It's quite mad, yeah but it's his job and he's the best at it. Hey! Two lads from Stoke-on-Trent. Who's 'ave thunk?"

The first edition of Soccer Aid - in May 2006 and presented by Ant and Dec - saw England beat the Rest of the World. Captain Robbie Williams led a star-studded team - including Paul Gascoigne and Jamie Redknapp as well as Bradley Walsh and Angus Deayton. The Rest of the World included Gordon Ramsay and Diego Maradona.

But it was no real surprise when Jonny - who'd had trials at Everton and his beloved Port Vale - was man of the match.

Jonny was back in 2008 to captain the side after Robbie missed out with an injured knee. He scored two goals in a 4-3 win.

Now Soccer Aid is an annual event. It has raised more than £90 million for UNICEF UK.

Soccer Aid 2024 kicks off at Old Trafford at 7.30pm tonight. The ITV show begins at 6pm.

Here's who's playing in Soccer Aid 2024:


Coaches: Frank Lampard, Harry Redknapp, Vicky McClure, Robbie Williams, David Seaman

Legends: Jill Scott (Captain), Gary Cahill, Karen Carney, Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe, David James, Theo Walcott, Ellen White, Jack Wilshere

Celebrities: Steven Bartlett, Bobby Brazier, Stuart Broad, Alex Brooker, Erin Doherty, Danny Dyer, Sir Mo Farah, Tom Grennan, Eddie Hearn, Tom Hiddleston, Paddy McGuinness, Miniminter, Sam Quek, Sam Thompson

World XI:

Coaches: Mauricio Pochettino, Robbie Keane, Jesus Perez

Legends: Eden Hazard, Roberto Carlos, Petr Cech, Patrice Evra, John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien, Alessandro Del Piero, Kheira Hamraoui, Olga Garcia, Kaylyn Kyle

Celebrities: Usain Bolt (Captain), Maisie Adam, Theo Baker, Tony Bellew, Martin Compston, Diamond, Tommy Fury, Roman Kemp, Lee Mack, Jason Manford, Emmett J Scanlan, Micheal Ward, Tion Wayne

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