Errol McKellar ‘thankful for everyone’s support’ after successful charity game at Leyton Orient’s Brisbane Road
- Credit: Archant
The ‘Big Match, Big Cause’ event in aid of Prostate Cancer UK and Hertfordshire Mind Network saw plenty of ex-players and fans turn out in force
Errol McKellar thanked the Leyton Orient fans and everyone else who attended his ‘Big Match, Big Cause’ event at Brisbane Road on Sunday after a successful day in aid of two charities.
The O’s youth-team coach hailed the ‘wonderful support’ from all inside the stadium with the West Stand brimming with spectators and plenty others scattered in different parts of the ground.
Prostate Cancer UK and Hertfordshire Mind Network were the two charities involved in the event with McKellar diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010 while Martin Ling has had depression on two occasions in 2013 and 2015.
Both have managed to come out the other side and produced teams for a charity game at Brisbane Road yesterday with Ling’s London Legends triumphing 5-4 over McKellar’s Celebrity XI in front of a jubilant crowd.
“Leyton Orient Football Club has given me wonderful support in helping to raise the awareness of prostate cancer,” said McKellar.
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“Everyone knows my journey and what I’ve gone through with prostate cancer and for me the support the fans have given me to help raise awareness and get through this battle is incredible.
“We brought two charities together for this event and both are very personal to me and Martin.
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“Martin Ling was my boss, my coach, my mentor and he has been helped by Hertfordshire Mind Network, so we wanted to raise awareness of Hertfordshire Mind Network and Prostate Cancer UK.
“On behalf of Prostate Cancer UK, I would like to thank everybody for what they have done for me for this event. I can’t thank everybody enough.”
The spectators at Brisbane Road were treated to a goal fest on a hot day as Ling’s London Legends opened the scoring after eight minutes through former Orient forward Jamie Cureton.
Arguably the only bad note of the occasion occurred in the 21st minute when DJ Spoony suffered an Achilles injury with no one around him and unfortunately needed to be stretched off.
After he had left the field, McKellar’s Celebrity XI equalised with 28 on the clock when ex-manager Omer Riza managed to beat both John Mackie and current head coach Justin Edinburgh to score past fan Barri Twinn.
It was 2-1 to the Celebrity XI three minutes later when Kenny Dyer’s cross found Riza and he again struck beyond Twinn.
The celebs were running riot now and actor Dean Holness extended their advantage in the 33rd minute with a low drive from the left and there was still time for one more goal before half time.
Orient fan Daniel Lassman smashed home with 60 seconds of the first 45 remaining to make it 4-1 and the one-time Apprentice candidate celebrated enthusiastically after finding the net at Brisbane Road.
Referee Uriah Rennie blew for half time soon after and there only seemed one winner at this stage.
It was all to change at the break, however, with the introduction of Scott McGleish for Ling’s London Legends.
The 44-year-old had four spells with the O’s and only needed two minutes to claim an assist at Brisbane Road as he played through Kevin Lisbie and the fellow fans favourite fired home to make it 4-2.
It was partnership which profited again in the 54th minute when Lisbie put McGleish in on goal and the striker drilled in to close the deficit to one.
Nine minutes later and the leveller arrived when McGleish’s cross was cleared out to centre back Dan Shittu and the former Queens Park Rangers defender unleashed a fierce volley which flew into the top corner from inside the penalty area.
It was a stunning goal, but 10 minutes later another beauty occurred and it was not a surprise to anyone to see who was on the end of it.
AFC Bournemouth’s Charlie Daniels, formerly of Orient, drove down the left wing and beat a couple of opponents before he played in McGleish and the experienced forward, who played for Chesham United last season, curled home via the crossbar.
Like Shittu’s volley, it was another goal of the highest quality and it was fitting it won the game for Ling’s team.
McKellar handed the man of the match honour to McGleish, but was proud of his side managed by The Chase’s Shaun Wallace.
“Shaun was doing well and after the first 45, Gareth Southgate was on the phone to me saying he is impressed with my manager,” joked McKellar.
“I’ve tried to ring him back after the second half, but I can’t get through, so I think it was a 45-minute excitement!”
Although the goals and players on show added to the occasion, the real winner was the cause this charity match was in aid of.
Both Prostate Cancer UK and Hertfordshire Mind Network raised much-needed funds and saw their awareness boosted with media presence from Sky Sports, BBC, The Voice and many other organisations.
McKellar, an ambassador for Father2Father, concluded: “I’m so appreciative of everybody who has supported me for this event. I can’t thank them all enough.”
The key message to come from Sunday’s event is it is good to talk. No matter what the problem – talking makes it easier.