Hundreds of One Direction fans will descend on Doncaster this weekend to catch a glimpse of homegrown boy band ace Louis Tomlinson as he takes to the football field once more.
And while the star singer might be attracting all the selfies and screams at the Keepmoat Stadium, the real star of the show won’t be the 1D favourite, but rather an unassuming, 30-something footballer from the North East who will quite rightly take centre stage.
Sunday will sees long-serving Doncaster Rovers midfielder James Coppinger kick-off a string of events to mark 11 years at the club - and when the special Legends game gets underway at 4pm, he will be surrounded by a host of familiar faces. A string of players, managers and even former club chairman John Ryan will be in attendance to see the 34-year-old given a fitting party as he closes in on the club’s all time appearance record, currently held by 80s favourite Colin Douglas.
And while scores of fans of 1D star Louis (right) will be cheering on their idol, skippering one of the two teams of Rovers greats, Sunday’s game is all about giving Coppinger his well-deserved time in the spotlight.
He said: “This is a wonderful chance for all the people who support the club to come out and show what we are about and have an amazing day that we won’t forget whilst also bringing new fans to Doncaster to showcase some of the players I have played with that have played such a big part in the amazing success this club has had over the past 10 years.”
Coppinger, who joined Doncaster in 2004, stands second in the list of Rovers’ all-time appearance makers, having played more than 440 games since joining on from Exeter City. Only Douglas (468) has made more appearances.
Also joining the pair for the game will be a host of ex-Rovers heroes including goal ace Billy Sharp, midfielders Brian Stock and Paul Green, defenders James O’Connor, Ricky Ravenhill and Tim Ryan and striker Leo Fortune-West.
Other names signing up are former ‘keepers Andy Warrington and Neil Sullivan, goal grabber Gregg Blundell and fans’ favourite Jason “Afro Goal Machine” Price.
Former bosses Dave Penney and Sean O’Driscoll will return, along with their assistants Mickey Walker and Richard O’Kelly to manage the two teams while former chairman John Ryan, who last week cut all ties with the club after 14 years, will referee proceedings. Two supporters, picked at random, will also get the chance to feature in the game.
Singer Louis will be playing his second game in a Rovers shirt following his appearance in a reserve game against Rotherham United last year.
“This is a wonderful chance for all the people who support the club to come out and show what we are about and have an amazing day.”James Coppinger
Tickets are £21 for adults and £13 for under 16s with a family ticket for two adults and two under 16s at £60 at www.jamescoppinger.co.uk
Plans for a golf day in May and Sportsman’s Dinner in August have also been unveiled along with a testimonial game in July.