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Richard Ashcroft has bittersweet sympathy for Neil Lennon  

2011-08-11 22:00:39|  分类: News |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Richard Ashcroft has bittersweet sympathy for Neil Lennon - the verve - verve中文网
 

ROCK legend Richard Ashcroft has thrown the gauntlet down to hardmen Neil Lennon and Ricky Hatton - after signing up for the Celtic v Manchester United glamour charity match next month.

The former frontman of The Verve and lifelong Man U fan reckons the pair - who will line up for Celtic - are nothing to be scared of.

He claims he's played with some psychos who've even threatened to SLASH referees.

The event - at Celtic Park on August 9 - was originally planned to raise funds for the Celtic Charity Foundation and ex-Hoops defender John Kennedy, who was forced to retire through injury.

But in light of recent events all funds will now go to the Oxfam East Africa Famine Appeal.

A host of stars are involved, including rapper Tinchy Stryder, and The View rockers Kyle Falconer and Pete Reilly.

Bhoys gaffer Lenny, and club legends Henrik Larsson and Lubo Moravcik, are also set to pull on their boots again, along with Irish tough guy Roy Keane, who played for both sides during his career.

Bittersweet Symphony singer Ashcroft, 39, said: "I have played the game with some utter psychopaths.

"I play left wing and I'm not the type to go for a 50-50 with these guys. But it wouldn't faze me.

"I was sent off playing for teams when I was 15 and 16, and had guys sent off with me who've gone nuts.

"They wanted to slash the refs, ran back on the pitch, got sent-off again and ended up slashing an official's tyres after the match.

"But I'm not handy with the fists."

The singer, from Wigan, kept a close eye on the Scottish game last season as it was marred by controversy.

He has sympathy and praise for Hoops manager Lennon, 40, who was subjected to death threats, bullets in the post and an attack by a fan during a match against Hearts at Tynecastle.

Ashcroft said: "Neil is a tough, tough man and he emanates that.

"He's said it before himself, there are some people who seem to antagonise people without knowing why.

"Everyone's had a mate who keeps getting beaten up on a Friday night and nobody knows why.

"To be honest, he was an under-rated player and he's a great man. It's amazing how he's stuck with the job.

"I've got nothing but respect for a guy who's gone through what he's gone through.

"I hope and pray that he has a good year this season and there's none of that sh*t."

He added: "At times the Manchester United and Liverpool rivalry can be poisonous. But the Old Firm is the biggest derby around and I'm aware of the unfortunate religious element to it.

"Football and music should be about escaping though, and being free from that kind of stuff.

"The problem is that we live in a world of extremists these days.

"They're everywhere." The friendly fixture is Ashcroft's second appearance in a legends' match but it will be the first time he's pulled on a Red Devils strip.

The dad-of-two - who is married to musician Kate Radley - turned out for an England versus Germany glamour tie five years ago.

Ashcroft, who shuns the limelight, said: "When I first went in the dressing room, Gazza walked out the showers smoking a Regal King Size and he was meant to be playing in the match. It was hilarious.

"It's a bit odd for me. At something like this, I'm usually the guy who doesn't know anybody.

"At Celtic Park, I'll meet more people at the game than I have in over 20 years in the music business."

Ashcroft had hopes of a career in the game before going on to become a song-writing sensation with The Verve.

They notched up two No1 albums and a chart-topping single with The Drugs Don't Work. He added: "You're totally out of your comfort zone in a game like this. In the England v Germany game I played with Nigel Harman from EastEnders, who was at left-back, and he was really, really c***.

"Hopefully there are some proper dudes all around me, top players. Roy Keane's one of my all-time top footballers and to play beside him would be incredible.

"I don't want to look like a k***head though. Do something really bad and you can end up getting a million hits on YouTube."

London Mayor Boris Johnson, 47, became an internet sensation after that match for a thumping head-on RUGBY tackle on ex-German international Maurizio Gaudino.

Ashcroft said: "I've never seen as many grown men cry with laughter.

"Boris had been dying to get on the pitch and he gave the ball away with his first two touches.

"He was running like a raging bull too and then he pole-axed a guy in the German side.

"It was mad. He almost broke someone's spine with a head-butt - you'll never get a repeat of that. That's what happens in these matches with the guys who aren't footballers though - some of them lose their minds."

Former Celtic boss Gordon Strachan is expected to be on the bench for Manchester United, whose side will feature Sir Alex Ferguson's 1999 European Cup winners Teddy Sheringham, Dwight Yorke and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Ashcroft added: "It'll be great fun because there are real characters involved, like Ricky Hatton.

"He's Manchester City-daft so he'll be playing for Celtic.

"And we won't lose sight of what the match is about - raising money to put towards the situation in Africa. That's what's vital."

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