Join us in the Banqueting Suite at Edgbaston for a major football dinner on Thursday 25th November featuring three of the game’s great characters from the last twenty years.
We are thrilled to welcome Watford, Liverpool and England legend John Barnes, former Southampton, Spurs, Liverpool and West Ham hardman, the fearsome Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock and ex Arsenal and England star and Sky Sports pundit, Paul Merson. Our guests will be dishing the dirt on the game as some of football’s most memorable characters, with our Sky Sports host for the evening, Pete Graves. Our three guests are great mates off the pitch, having all appeared together with Harry Redknapp in the Sky show “Harry’s Heroes”!
John Barnes: One of the most naturally gifted wingers in the history of English football, John’s early career at Watford under the watchful eye of managerial great Graham Taylor saw him become a legend at Vicarage Road, playing almost 300 games in all competitions, scoring 85 goals and becoming an England international. With Liverpool the dominant side in English football, it was no surprise when Kenny Dalglish made Barnes his marquee signing. Playing alongside some of the greatest players to don the shirt, John quickly became a key player in the side, winning the 1987/88 title, playing 38 times and scoring 15 goals, and netting the Footballer of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year Awards. John went on to win the League title again in 1989/90, with other trophies including the FA Cup in the tragic Hillsborough year of 1989, and again in 1991. He appeared 403 times for Liverpool in all competitions, scoring 106 goals. John represented England for over a decade (79 caps/11 goals), playing in the 1986 and 1990 World Cup Finals, and the 1988 European Championships. Inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2005, John was also named in the PFA Team of the Century (1977-1996) in 2007.
Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock: A fearsome competitor on the pitch who pushed the boundaries of physical intimidation, ‘Razor’ Ruddock was a striker’s nightmare as a tough-tackling centre back with confidence on the ball and an eye for a pass and a goal. In a 17-year career played almost entirely in the top flight, Neil played for Millwall, Spurs, Southampton, Liverpool and West Ham, winning the League Cup whilst at Anfield in 1995. His colourful career was littered with memorable on-field altercations with other hardmen of the day including the likes of Eric Cantona and perhaps most famously, Patrick Vieira in 1999. With 466 appearances in all competitions with an impressive goal ratio of one every ten games, Neil won his only cap for England under Terry Venables, against Nigeria in 1994. Since retiring in 2003 he has appeared in I’m a Celebrity, Celebrity Big Brother and even showed his skills in the kitchen, finishing an impressive third in Celebrity Masterchef last year, as well as hilarious antics on ITV’s Harry’s Heroes with Harry Redknapp.
Paul Merson: After making his Arsenal debut in 1986, Paul soon established himself in the first team; he was a regular on the right wing in the unforgettable 1988-89 season, when Michael Thomas scored with almost the last kick of the season at Anfield to bring the title back to Highbury. During that legendary season, Paul scored 10 goals from the wing, broke into the England U21 side, and was named the PFA Young Player of the Season. He went on to have a long and glorious career with The Gunners, making 423 appearances and scoring 99 goals in all competitions; he won another League title in 1991, as well as the FA and League Cups in 1993, and the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994. His first senior England cap came in 1991, and although he wasn’t always a regular, he went on to win 21 caps for his country, scoring 3 goals. On leaving Arsenal, he enjoyed further successful spells with Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Portsmouth, before finishing his 20 year League career off at Walsall, finally retiring in 2006. One of the game’s most colourful characters, with a wild streak off the pitch, Paul is now one of the most highly-rated speakers on the circuit and a regular pundit on Sky Sports.
Pete Graves: A passionate Newcastle Utd fan, Pete has enjoyed a swift rise through the broadcasting ranks to become one of the most recognisable faces on Sky Sports. After leaving university, Pete started his broadcasting career with the hospital radio show Radio Tyneside, before working in the local Metro Radio, and then ITV Tyneside as a sports reporter. Since 2009 he has worked at Sky Sports, mainly as a presenter, where his passion for football and all-round sports knowledge are amongst his greatest assets. Pete has become a much-valued member of our team at our many lunch and dinner events and we are delighted to be in his safe hands once more!
Edgbaston Stadium: We are delighted to be holding our event in the Banqueting Suite at Edgbaston Stadium, which is a fantastic large facility, perfectly suited to our event. This is the stadium’s premium pitch-facing facility, enjoying magnificent views over the middle, and plenty of natural light. Our guests will enjoy quality dining and service for which Edgbaston is rightly renowned, with ample complimentary parking for all attendees.