WEST London’s community came together to remember those affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster at Loftus Road on Saturday afternoon.
80 residents cruelly lost their lives in the fire on 14th June 2017 and 17,468 spectators packed inside QPR’s stadium - just a mile from the tower - as the local area united to watch #Game4Grenfell.
The match saw a mixture of current and former pros alongside celebrities over 90 minutes. One side, Team Ferdinand, was led by former QPR striker Les Ferdinand whilst the other, Team Shearer, was managed by ex-England and Newcastle forward Alan Shearer.
It was a fast start at Loftus Road as Team Ferdinand went 1-0 up inside the opening two minutes courtesy of man of the Mo-ment, Mo Farah. There was a touch of luck about the goal though, as Billions star Damian Lewis wiped the Team Shearer backline out like he was shorting a trade on a NASDAQ 100 company to pave the way for the four-time Olympic Champion to riffle past David James from 10-yards.
The lead didn't last long, though, as Team Shearer soon pulled level although frankly the referee needs glasses if he missed the blatant offside from ‘Tricky’ Trevor Sinclair. Danny Jones McFly’d past the Team Ferdinand defence before slipping in Sinclair to tuck home from close range after 12 minutes.
The match then paused in the 35th minute as a special substitution took place. Both Team Shearer and Team Ferdinand brought on firefighters Gregg Jules, Adam Foster, David Badillo and Dean Smith who attended the disaster on the night of 14th June.
Tricky lived up to his nickname at the start of the second half as QPR legend Sinclair put Team Shearer ahead three minutes after the restart with a clever free-kick. The former West Ham and Manchester City winger cheekily chipped a set-piece in off the post of Shay Given’s goal from 20-yards to make it 2-1.
Only the woodwork saved the blushes of Game of Throne’s star Iain Glen - aka Ser Jorah Mormont - after James Bay’s cutback from Andy Sinton’s initial cross cannoned back off the upright to prevent an own goal.
Our celebrities on show will be used to the paparazzi, but it was former pro and goalkeeper David James that went all Hollywood midway through the second half as he pulled out a save for the cameras to deny Sir Les Ferdinand a leveller. One of QPR’s favourite sons rolled back the years to swivel on the penalty spot before getting away his top corner bound shot but James was on hand to save. It came at a cost, though, as the R’s Director of Football limped off shortly after injured.
Enter stage right pantomime villain Jose Mourinho. Given the current Manchester United manager's links with QPR’s arch rivals Chelsea, it was no surprise he received a ‘warm’ welcome from the Loftus Road crowd as he donned the keepers gloves for Team Shearer as a second half substitute. Referee and QPR fan Mark Halsey would have taken no pleasure from showing the Special One an early yellow card for time wasting - no pleasure at all, we are sure!
Chris Edwards of Kasabian then had Loftus Road rocking when he equalised for Team Ferdinand 15 minutes from time after Stan Collymore squared to the bassist at the back post and he finished from close range to make it 2-2.
In another touching moment the match paused on 80 minutes to remember the 80 victims of the disaster and four survivors - Shahin Sadafi, Oluwaseun Talabi, Bobby Ross and Paul Mencer - from the tower came on for the final 10 minutes to a standing ovation from the crowd.
It remained 2-2 at full-time and that left only one thing for it - penalties of the ABBA variety.
Shahin Sadafi, resident from the tower, stepped up first and despite Mourinho getting a foot to it he put Team Ferdinand 1-0 up in the shoot-out. Firefighter David Badillo was first up for Team Shearer but he struck the crossbar as it remained 1-0. Another resident, Oluwaseun Talabi, was up next for Team Shearer and he tucked it away coolly into the top corner from 12-yards as they levelled up at 1-1. Firefighter Adam Foster then converted for Team Ferdinand before resident Omar Salha also scored for Team Ferdinand to make it 3-1. Mourinho then converted his spot kick for Team Shearer to make it 3-2 before firefighter Dean Smith made it 3-3. Another of our firefighters, Gregg Jules, then scored for Team Ferdinand before Olly Murs scored the winner to make it 5-3 as Team Ferdinand secured victory on a memorable day for the local community.
Team Ferdinand: David Seaman, Danny Gabbidon, Clint Hill, Ben Shephard, Clive Wilson, Mo Farah, Damian Lewis, DJ Spoony, Olly Murs, Peter Crouch, Marcus Mumford.
Subs: Stan Collymore, Shay Given, Andy Impey, Tinie Tempah, Wretch 32, Marc Bircham, Serge Pizzorno, Jack Whitehall, Paul Merton, Chris Edwards, Iain Glen, Damien Duff, Chris ‘Woody’ Wood, Shahin Sadafi (Resident), Omar Salha (Volunteer), Gregg Jules (Firefighter), Adam Foster (Firefighter).
Team Shearer: David james, Ralf Little, Des Walker, Danny Jones, Lee Mack, Darren Campbell, Jamie Redknapp, Jamie Dornan, Trevor Sinclair, Chris Sutton, Ben Cohen.
Subs: Jose Mourinho, Jody Morris, Dave, Richard Ashcroft, Andy Sinton, Jarvis Cocker, James Bay, Ed Westwick, Kevin Gallen, Tamer Hassan, Russell Howard, Paul Bullion, Steve Mackey, Oluwaseun Talabi (Resident), Bobby Ross (Resident), Paul Menacer (Resident), David Badillo (Firefighter), Dean Smith (Firefighter).