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Last Updated: Monday, 17 May, 2004, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Footballers support former icon
Danny Wallace
Mr Wallace says he is very grateful to the club and chairman
Ex-football players and fans are turning out to support a former star now suffering from a crippling illness.

Former Southampton and Manchester United player Danny Wallace was struck down with multiple sclerosis after a 15-year playing career.

When Southampton FC announced it was to hold a testimonial match for him they were inundated with offers from former players to take part in the game.

The match sees a team of former players take on the current Southampton squad.

He was a very popular player at the club ... he had an infectious smile and people loved that
Laurie McMenemy
Ex-manager
Testimonial matches are usually given for players who have been at the same club for more than ten years, to reward their loyalty.

Danny Wallace's brothers, Rod and Ray, will be joined by former Southampton and Manchester United players such as Matt Le Tissier, Paul Ince, Jimmy Case and John Barnes.

Laurie McMenemy, manager of Southampton for their 1976 FA cup win and the man who first brought Wallace to the club, said this was "a testimonial in the true sense of the word".

"Testimonials have lost their value because players are paid so much nowadays, and they can go on to other things," he told BBC News Online.

"Danny's different because he played when wages weren't so high and his work prospects are limited now."

'Very grateful'

He said Wallace had served the club for 12 years, two-and-a-half as a trainee and nine as a professional.

"He was a very popular player at the club, as a winger you're close to the crowd and they either love you or hate you, he had an infectious smile and people loved that.

"It's a game blessed with fitness so to see a lad struck down with such a disease - it's very sad."

Danny Wallace said: "I am very grateful too for the positive response from the club and all the players. The attitude has been tremendous and the chairman has been fantastic.

"He was not here when I was at the club but I am very grateful for his support and for giving me the chance to say a proper goodbye and thank you to the fans."


The match takes place at Southampton's St Mary's Stadium at 1945 BST



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SEE ALSO:
Wallace battles with MS
30 Apr 04  |  Football Focus


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