Celebrity hard men to join together in Evesham football game to say no to knife crime

A celebrity team of the ‘hardest men to play football’ will be lining up for a match in Evesham, to appeal to young people to say no to knife crime.

The All-Star Team has been organised by Growers United FC, Winning Mindset and former boxer turned actor Joe Egan, who will be joined by sportsmen and celebrities including world champion boxers and martial artists, footballing legends and well-known actors.

Joe, winner of over 80 boxing matches and sparring partner to world champions Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis, said that sport was an important way to reach out to young people “We want to appeal to young people to choose not to carry a knife, and to use all their amazing skills, talent and energy to live life instead.”

“Sport is a great example of how you can channel energy in a positive way, both for your health and even as a career; just look at the young people taking to the football pitch for club or country or taking to the ring to compete at the highest level.”

Joe was once branded ‘The hardest white man on the planet’ by Mike Tyson, who has become a firm friend, and he has seen first-hand how knives can destroy lives. “I’m a tough guy but when a friend of mine, a father of three, died recently as a result of knife crime it hit me hard. I’d get down on my knees to beg people to stop this.”

I’m a proud man and I didn’t go to my knees when Mike Tyson or Lennox Lewis were battering me, but now I absolutely will to beg people not to carry knives.”

And Joe, who also starred in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films, believes that young people won’t ever know their talents unless they explore them “It was only after my career in the ring that I discovered acting, and everyone in our all-stars team has a talent that they’ve worked hard to cultivate whether that’s acting, football, boxing or another sport”.

Joe’s All-Stars include former Super Middleweight champion Robin Read, Alan Kennedy, who scored decisive goals in two of Liverpool’s past European Cup victories, Game of Thrones and Football Factory actor Tamer Hassan and many more well-known names.

The game will take place at 1pm on Sunday July 14 th at Evesham United’s home The Spires & Hartwell Jubilee Stadium. Local community group Growers United FC will line up to play Big Joe’s All Stars, with horticulture businesses taking to the pitch to help spread the message for young people not to carry knives.

Vito Mauro of Growers United FC described why they wanted to add their support “The rise in knife crime around the UK is a huge concern and so we wanted to join Winning Mindset and Big Joe’s All Stars in sending out the message for young people not to carry knives.”

“You can be competitive in sport but you leave that behind when you walk away from the pitch or the ring, it’s such a great way of bringing people and communities together; we’re all equals and share an experience when we walk onto the pitch.” He said.

“We’re grateful to everyone who is supporting and sponsoring Growers United FC which has enabled us to make this event. Tickets available on-line at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/big-joe-egans-all-star-football-match-tickets-62948641080 and on day , tickets are £10.00.

We hope as many people as possible join us at the game to "Say No Knives.”

The All-Star line-up in full:


‘Big’ Joe Egan retired heavy weight boxer and now fulltime actor.


1. Barrington Rentford Patterson: former kickboxer and mixed martial artist who featured in Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men.

2. Tamer Hassan: actor who starred in Game of Thrones and Football Factory.

3. Robin Reid: former Super Middleweight World Boxing Champion and Olympic Medalist.

4. Gary Bennett: retired footballer who played for clubs including Manchester City, Cardiff and Sunderland.

5. Terry Angus: Former Fulham and Northampton Town Footballer.

6. Matt Elliott: Defender who captained Leicester to victory in the 2000 Football League Cup Final.

7. John Durnin: scored 100 goals during a football career spanning close to two decades.

8. Kris Trezise: British bare knuckle boxing champion.

9. James O’ Keefe: retired MMA fighter and husband of Queen of British Soul Beverley Knight.

10. Stuart Maddox: bare knuckle boxer and No Knife Crime campaigner.

11. Byron Highton: body-builder and No Knife Crime campaigner.

12. Charles ‘The Bull’ Shepherd: Former Commonwealth and World Super Flyweight boxing champion.

13. Alan Kennedy: Liverpool legend who scored decisive goals in two European Cup victories.

14. Jason Milligan: Actor known for The Emperor's Wife, The Afternoon Play and Ultimate Force.

15. Matt Lapinskas: English actor, known for playing Anthony Moon in the BBC soap opera EastEnders from 2011 to 2012.

16. Jim Whitley: Zambian-born Northern Irish former professional footballer.

17. Mel Eves: Former professional footballer who had a long career playing as a striker and left sided attacker, mostly known for his time with Wolverhampton Wanderers.