DUCKERS VERSUS GRIFFIN
New star players to grace Villa Park
A one-off penalty shootout with a difference is to be held at Villa Park – between two Birmingham business journalists.
Birmingham Mail business editor Jon Griffin and former Birmingam Post business editor John Duckers are to dust off their boots in front of around 40,000 people for the charity event.
The shootout will take place at half-time during next month’s Manchester City game – with two teams of three taking 12 penalties in total.
Aston Villa agreed to the shootout after Griffin and Duckers shared last year’s Midlands Business Journalist of the Year when judges appointed by event organisers Birmingham Press Club were unable to separate their entries.
The two writers, pictured here with compere Lucy Kite and Barclays executive Dave Adams, decided the title should go to a shootout – and Villa officials agreed the event could be held in front of a packed crowd at the home game against the current league champions on Monday March 4.
The event is being held to raise funds for Aston Villa charity Acorn’s Hospice, which helps terminally-ill children and their families, providing hospice care at centres in Selly Oak, Walsall and Worcester.
It is being supported financially by Barclays Bank, who have purchased a small number of hospitality packages for spectators.
Griffin and Duckers will each captain two teams of three and the event will be refereed by regional Barclays executive Ray O’Donoghue while Ed James, of Heart FM, has agreed to act as goalkeeper on the night.
Former Villa players, England international Tony Daley and England B international Riccardo Scimeca, are set to make up the two teams.
Griffin, 57, said: “I last kicked a ball in anger over 20 years ago but this is such a good cause that I’m quite prepared to make a fool of myself in front of 40,000 people.”
Duckers, 61, said: “Rugby has always been my game rather than football so I already have a good excuse if the ball flies over the bar.”
Ray O’Donoghue of Barclays, said: “We are delighted to support this one-off event, which aims to help a very worthy cause.”