FORMER Sheffield Wednesday striker Mark Bright is fully behind the Great Britain football team that will participate at the London Olympics next summer
Despite the team’s formation coming in for criticism, especially the men’s outfit, Bright believes the opportunity for both young players and seasoned professionals would be too enticing to turn down.
Bright, aged 49, who also played for Crystal Palace, approves of the appointment of Stuart Pearce as the manager of the men’s side and is hoping the public turn out to support both football teams.
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He said: “I’m looking forward to it, it should be a fantastic tournament. 1.5million tickets went on sale today and they have already sold 800,000.
“That is a lot more tickets than any other sports but it is spread right across the country.
“It is a tournament. It is the Olympics, there shouldn’t be a question about whether football should be in or should not be in. It is in. It is a fact so that is out of the debate.
“(It will have) More games and less venues than Euro ‘96 and the best women in the world will be here too. “It is a great opportunity for kids and old aged pensioners to go to see games. This is probably the last time we will have a TeamGB so I urge people to go along and support them.”
Bright was talking at Wembley Stadium on the day when the final bulk of tickets for the football event go on sale and he already has his own idea on his ideal squad.
“It would be nice to see players from all the home nations. (Aaron) Ramsey playing alongside (Jack) Wilshere and (Gareth) Bale,” he said.
“FIFA have said it would not go against their independence so I don’t see the problem.
“Wouldn’t it be great to see Ryan Giggs, who has never taken part in a major tournament, be representing TeamGB alongside David Beckham?
“From the fans’ point of view they would love to see Beckham playing, it is exciting and I’m looking forward to it. I don’t think Sir Alex Ferguson would have a problem (with Giggs playing) and Beckham has done a lot to get the Olympics here in the first place. It might also be nice to go with an experienced goalkeeper.”
Dani Buet, a midfielder with Chelsea Ladies and an England international is hopeful of representing the TeamGB women’s team and believes it offers a great opportunity to promote the women’s game.
“I think it will be great for the home nations up and down the whole country,” she said. “It is the fastest growing women’s sport in the country at the moment so I think a lot of people are excited about what could potentially come from it. There is a buzz around the place.
“It showed in Germany during the World Cup when the stadiums were packed and here with our home fans it will be amazing.”
Other athletes have voiced their concerns over football taking the headlines away from their respective sports at the Games but long-jumper Chris Tomlinson does not share that opinion.
He said: “I think it should be in the Olympics. We have such a huge number of people who want to be involved and because of the capacity of the Olympic stadium people have not had the chance but the football means the Olympics can now travel the country.
“I don’t think it is going to take any gloss off (other events) - I will say track and field is more important but personally I think it is a great opportunity for the younger players to come through and for women’s football to come in and really shine.”
The Olympics football tournament will see matches played at Wembley, Old Trafford, Millennium Stadium, St James’ Park, Hampden Park and the City of Coventry Stadium with the draws taking place on April 24.