It just shows people are willing to help when somebody needs it, says Darren Anslow
Anslow is the manager of George Howard’s Kent League XI who will take to the pitch against a star-studied Kent Pro XI side at Coldharbour Leisure Centre in Eltham (1:30pm).
The Kent Pro XI side will be managed by current Sevenoaks Town manager Micky Collins, who along with Anslow and Richmond Kissi have worked tirelessly to get the greats of Kent professional and semi-professional football together.
An online donating page was set up 10 days ago by Martin Di Fede and Aaron Burrett after Howard, 20, was involved in a car accident in South Africa.
Burrett said on Thursday, “Great news, George is off the ventilator and breathing on his own. Thank you for everyone who’s donated.”
Around £13,000 has been raised online for the former Charlton Athletic, Cray Wanderers, Sevenoaks Town, Bromley and Gillingham goalkeeper.
“It’s been a bit of a mental sort of week and a half with lots to do and quite a lot of running about for myself, Micky and Richmond today and we’ve got an early start tomorrow,” said Anslow.
“Now it’s here we’re really looking forward to it.
“I just want as many people as possible to show their support for George.
“You start of understand the power of social networking because Twitter’s gone crazy with it and I’m just hoping everyone who has been re-tweeting and speaking about it all week comes along tomorrow.
“Hopefully the weather will be nice and we get as many people here as we can.
“It’s important to add as well that not only do we want them to come to the game, they can come to the STC Club afterwards where they can meet the players, have a drink and hopefully take part in the auction.”
Anslow saluted the excellent response from the Kent football community to Howard’s plight.
“It’s fantastic,” he said.
“It’s a very sad story but also it’s testament to people in football in Kent that they want to help eachother and look after each other. It’s been really good.”
The headline act is former Charlton Athletic, Liverpool and now Swansea City midfielder JonJo Shelvey, 22.
And you can watch the match for a donation of whatever you can afford.
Anslow said: “I think that looking at the players that are going to be on show tomorrow – I know it’s about George – but I can’t think of a better game looking at the names playing especially at a week and a half notice.
“There’s players from most teams in Kent, some great players playing in the pro side.
“I’m just expecting a fantastic game because of all the players that are on show. It should be really exciting. It should be an exciting game.”
Expect Collins and Anslow to show their competitive streak when referee Alan Escuider gets the showpiece game underway at half-past-one.
“Listen, it’s ultimately for George but myself and Micky will both admit and everyone who know us will know we’re pretty competitive to say the least and people don’t realise the players that between us all that we do know.
“Listen, it is for George but I’m sure when the first whistle goes the competitive mode will kick in. It’s exciting. I’ve put a strong side out. It’s for George but I want the fans to have a game which is testament to George.
“I’ve known George for a long time and when he came to me at the Academy at Cray Wanderers on loan from Charlton he could have been a little bit big time but he wasn’t. He was fantastic. He wanted to learn. He listened. I want the game to represent George.
The post-match drinks and auction will take place at the STC Sports Ground, Ivor Grove, New Eltham, London SE9 2AJ.
“I really want to stress first of all that we want as many people to attend that as possible. I don’t really want people to come to the game and leave and go elsewhere,” said Anslow.
“It will be fantastic to get as many people as we can there. We have got lots of different stuff. We’ve got loads of signed shirts from players.
“Carl Jenkinson (formally with Charlton Athletic, Welling United and now Arsenal) have donated a signed shirt from the Arsenal players.
“We’ve got a Tottenham shirt signed by Ricky Villa and Ossie Ardiles, an England shirt signed by Peter Shilton.
“We’ve got loads of football memorabilia, a couple of gym membership packages, cameras.
“People have been really kind.
“Don’t forget we’ll have shirts from the game that can be bid for and can be signed by anyone at the game.
“The kit that they’ve given us is fantastic. I would dread to think the cost of these kits are. They’ve donated full kits. We’ve got 22 shirts each. They’re all numbered. People have been brilliant and the match balls and warm-up balls have been donated.
“I’m not really surprised because I know people are like. To say to someone you need 44 shirts within four or five days is not easy.
“People do care. It just shows people are willing to help when somebody needs it.
Anslow revealed that George Porter, 21, is looking forward to playing with his former team-mates after leaving Cray Wanderers in 2010 before playing League Football for Leyton Orient, Burnley, Colchester United, AFC Wimbledon and Rochdale.
The winger/striker is now a free agent and Anslow said: “George Porter played for me at the Cray Wanderers Academy and he’s going to come onto my side now because it’s a chance for him to play with the boys in the Academy that he’d never have a chance to play with again.
“We’ve got a member of George’s family (Joe Ranson) who will be on my side. He’s a very close cousin of George and we felt it was just right. He wanted to play and we’ve facilitiated that as it were.”
KENT PRO XI
(Colours White & Black)
Manager: Micky Collins
Lee Heywood (ex-Greenwich Borough)
Craig Holloway (Arsenal)
John Humphrey (Charlton Athletic/Crystal Palace)
Jake Reeves (Brentford)
Simon Osborn (Wolves/Crystal Palace/Gillingham/Reading)
Barry Ashby (Gillingham/Brentford)
Nicky Southall (Gillingham)
Bradley Dack (Gillingham)
JonJo Shelvey (Charlton Athletic/Liverpool/Swansea City)
Gareth Williams (Crystal Palace/Colchester United)
Jon Main (AFC Wimbledon)
Callum Harriott (Charlton Athletic)
Steve Gritt (Charlton Athletic/West Ham United)
Andy Hessenthaler (Gillingham/Watford)
Tommy Warrilow (Millwall/Torquay United)
Peter Garland (Charlton Athletic/Newcastle United)
Grant Watts (Crystal Palace/Sheffield United/Gillingham)
Rob Quinn (Crystal Palace/Brentford)
Gareth Graham (Crystal Palace/Brentford)
Jay Saunders (Gillingham/Margate/Maidstone United)
Harry Pell (AFC Wimbledon)
John Beales (Tonbridge Angels/Dartford/Margate)
Micky Collins (Millwall/Charlton Athletic/Gillingham)
Anthony Barness (Charlton Athletic)
Bobby Bowry (Millwall/Crystal Palace)
GEORGE HOWARD KENT LEAGUE XI
(Colours Yellow & Navy)
Manager: Darren Anslow
Deren Ibrahim (Dartford/Maidstone United/Leatherhead)
Matt Bailey (Cray Wanderers/Cray Valley)
James Golding (Erith & Belvedere/Erith & Belvedere/Cray Valley/Sevenoaks T)
Tyrone Sterling (Thamesmead Town/Cray Wanderers/Dartford/Dover Athletic)
Dean Carpenter (Dulwich Hamlet/VCD Athletic)
Luke Rooney (Stansfeld Oxford & Bermondsey Club/Gillingham/Swindon/Luton)
Frazer Cronin (Cray Wanderers/Sevenoaks Town)
Jack Parkinson (VCD Athletic/Welling United/Woking/Maidstone United)
Ryan Hayes (Slade Green/Dartford)
Brendon Cass (Dartford/Hythe Town/Faversham Town/Tunbridge Wells)
Richmond Kissi (Charlton Athletic/Cray Wanderers/Sevenoaks Town/Erith & Belvedere/Redhill)
George Porter (Cray Wanderers/Leyton Orient/Colchester United/Burnley/Rochdale/AFC Wimbledon)
Jordan Clark (Cray Wanderers/Sevenoaks Town/Erith & Belvedere)
Tommy Parkinson (Maidstone United/Hythe Town/Canterbury City/Leatherhead)
Billy Parkinson (Cray Wanderers/Cray Valley/Corinthian)
Ronnie Vint (Dartford)
Tom Skelton (Cray Wanderers/Sevenoaks Town)
Danny Akers (Beckenham Town/Fisher/Erith Town)
Simon Austin (Maidstone United/Canterbury City/Folkestone Invicta/Erith Town)
Helge Orome (Bromley/Cray Wanderers)
Stuart Zanone (Rochester United/Thamesmead Town/VCD Athletic/Greenwich Borough)
Joe Ranson (George Howard’s Cousin)
THE MATCH OFFICIALS:
Referee: Mr Alan Escuider (Belvedere)
Assistants: Mr Adam Back (Sidcup) & Mr Daniel Proctor (Dartford)
KEEP FIGHTING AND KEEP DONATING!
Kent Pro XI v George Howard Kent League XI
George Howard Benefit Match
Sunday 8 June 2014
Kick Off 1:30pm
at Coldharbour Leisure Centre, Chapel Farm Road, Eltham, London SE9 3LX