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Watch as we take you to a very special football match at Liverpool Cathedral where John Barnes, Sammy Lee and more helped The Pools celebrate its 100th anniversary

10 months ago

The Pools has kicked off its 100-year anniversary celebrations in spectacular style, setting a new world record for the first ever football match held inside a cathedral.

History was made in the stunning surroundings of Liverpool Cathedral as two teams of former players and celebrities went head-to-head in a six-a-side game, refereed by the Dean – and huge football fan – the Very Rev. Dr Sue Jones.

A temporary pitch was created in The Well of the Cathedral, one of the city’s most breathtaking landmarks, less than a mile from where The Pools first began in offices on Church Street.

An action-packed two 10-minute halves saw Reds versus Blues, with legends John Barnes, Steve McMahon, Sammy Lee, Mark Wright, Neil Mellor and Emmerdale actor Kurtis Stacey taking on Rachel Brown-Finnis, Peter Reid, Neil Ruddock, Colin Hendry, Michael Ball and X-Factor’s Scott Wilkes. 

Football Pools - The Guide Liverpool
John Barnes. Credit John Hipkiss

And although the real goal was to claim a new record, there was still plenty of rivalry and intense competition. After full time the score was 1-1, with Neil Mellor putting the Reds in front and Peter Reid grabbing a Blues equalizer thanks to a penalty awarded by the Dean. 

With the score level after 30 minutes, it was down to penalties to decide the result and Sammy Lee put away the winner. John Barnes accepted the cup on behalf of his victorious team. 

The extraordinary match was the first of a series of events celebrating the centenary year of the company which started life in Liverpool in 1923 and is still based there today. 

James Arnold, CEO of The Pools, said: “We wanted to create a memorable sporting spectacle in the city where The Football Pools’ incredible story began and this was absolutely it. 

“As a proudly Liverpool-born business, The Pools already has close connections with the Cathedral so we were delighted to have it as the venue for our record attempt, especially when the Dean kindly offered to take on the task of refereeing. She definitely kept a cool head and made sure it was a fantastic fair game.”

Football Pools - The Guide Liverpool

The match was hosted by sports presenter Steve Hothersall, who also led a post-match Q&A at Gino D’Acampo Sky Bar in Liverpool city centre. 

The Very Rev. Dr Sue Jones said the world record was the latest, and one of the most unusual, events designed to encourage visitors to engage with the cathedral in different ways.

“The Pools is an institution, not just in Liverpool but across the country, so we were thrilled to be a unique part of its centenary celebrations. Jesus was always keen to reach out to as many people as possible and in Liverpool there’s no better way to do that than with football.

“If he’d been here and playing in this game, I think Jesus would definitely have been one of the star strikers – always leading from the front!”

Fancy playing The Pools for £1. Find out more here.

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