'Liam and his family deserve it' - Roy Keane looking forward to paying tribute to Miller at star-studded testimonial
Footballing heroes including Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes, Louis Saha, Nicky Butt, and Denis Irwin are among those who will battle it out on the pitch later this month as Manchester United Legends XI take on Celtic/Ireland legends XI in a special benefit night for the family of former player Liam Miller, who died earlier this year.
Former Ireland, Manchester United, Celtic and Cork City player Miller passed away in February having fought a valiant and characteristically brave battle against oesophageal cancer. He died just days before his 37th birthday.
Man United legend Keane joined the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mick Finn, alongide Cork City Manager John Caulfield and developer Michael O'Flynn to formally launch the benefit match which will take place at Turners Cross in the city on September 25th next.
Keane said that the former players were quick to respond to requests to participate as they had fond memories of Liam.
"Liam and his family deserve it," Keane said.
"Sport brings people together. I always had a lot of time and respect for Liam. Liam was thirty six with a young family. Unfortunately with sport we all get obsessed with winning and losing but the bottom line is your health is the most important thing. We are still shocked that it is after happening to Liam. It will be a great occasion. It gives people a chance to pay their respects."
Glancing at pictures of Miller on display in Cork City Hall, he said that the images brought back great memories.
"Liam had a huge impact in Sunderland when I was manager. It will be a chance to celebrate his career. Liam has a very good family. All that has to be celebrated. I hope the whole family will enjoy it."
Roy joked that as player-manager he didn't know how many minutes he would manage to line out for on the day. However, ever the perfectionist, he quickly added that if he wasn't up to the job he would take himself off.
"At the moment we have fourteen or fifteen ex-United players committed so we will rotate. I don't think physically I will be up to playing the ninety minutes. If I am manager I can dictate how many minutes I can get," he joked.
Keane added that he was keenly anticipating managing the Man United side against Ireland manager Martin O'Neill, who will be responsible for the Celtic/Ireland legends team.
"Players' pride kicks in when we get together. Martin will want to beat me and I will want to beat Martin."
Cork City Manager John Caulfield said Liam was a "sincere, gentle guy" and they were honoured to host the match.
Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mick Finn said the Miller family suffered a "devastating loss" and that it was fantastic to see the magnificent response of the footballing community in the wake out the passing of Liam.
The match will be followed by a Black Tie Gala Dinner and panel discussion at City Hall.
Tables of twelve at the Black Tie Gala Dinner are priced at €4,000. However, since the event was first announced there has been unprecedented demand, predominantly from the corporate sector, and tables are now all but sold out. The Celtic/Republic of Ireland legends team will include names such as Robbie Keane and Damien Duff.
Tickets for the game will be on sale through Ticketmaster.ie at 10am on Friday.
Tickets will cost €50 each and, due to the anticipated level of demand, a limit of four tickets per person will apply.