John Kennedy will give up a six figure sum in order to boost Oxfam’s East Africa Famine Appeal.
The Celtic v Manchester United Legends match on August 9 was originally arranged as Kennedy’s benefit match after his career was effectively ended in 2004 playing for Scotland against Romania.
The Celtic Charity Fund was also going to benefit from the match but the immediacy of the African famine has saw Kennedy and Celtic shift their priorities with all of the money raised on the night going direct to the Oxfam appeal.
A number of other footballers have donated their testimonial money to charity but afteryears of top money that decision has been easier to make than Kennedy’s.
The defender admitted: “If any of this money can go towards helping enhance the life of these people then I will be delighted. I’m not someone who is orientated around money. I’ve got my family and they are healthy. I’m more than happy to have enough to live on and if I can help other people around the world then it’s something I’m happy to give up.
“I don’t think there’s enough people aware of what’s going on in Africa. It’s amazing when you see the clips coming out of Africa, it pulls on your heart strings. I would feel guilty if I was taking my cut out of this game because I’m fortunate enough to have had my career and earned decent money it.
He added: “If I can make some sort of impact just with the game alone, and the exposure it might bring through celebrities and obviously the legends of the game, then it might open up people’s eyes here. Sometimes we’re wrapped up in a wee bubble and we don’t see everything else that goes in the world.
“Hopefully, though, it will bring some sort of light to the situation and people will be more aware of it and hopefully that will help the cause. We want as many people to come along as possible. It’s not a situation anymore that somebody who has had a good career, and been well paid in that time, is getting a payback. Now it’s all going to a good cause.
“I’ll be there on the night and have my wee bow. But it’s a bigger picture now and it’s about getting as many people through the gate as possible, to really push for it and get whatever we can. If it’s 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 … the more the merrier because it’s all going to a good cause. Every person turning up will be helping to save lives.”
Henrik Larsson and Roy Keane are amongst the former players who’ll play in the match which will be screened live by ITV4.
A golf day and testimonial dinner will be held later in the year for Kennedy’s testimonial.
CLICK HERE for more details on the match