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Jamo enjoys send-off

"If I could thank each and every one of the crowd, I would" said the emotional former Accrington Stanley keeper Jamie Speare after his testimonial on Saturday.

"If I could thank each and every one of the crowd, I would" said the emotional former Accrington Stanley keeper Jamie Speare after his testimonial on Saturday.

More than 400 people turned out to say goodbye to the popular goalkeeper in a game which saw some of the current Stanley team battle against a mixture of the team from the 2000 UniBond First Division championship side plus ex-Everton stars Neville Southall and Dave Watson and some Dreamteam actors.

The event raised around £2000 for the shot-stopper, who had seen one relegation and two promotions in his six years at Accrington before he left in the summer and signed for Lancaster.

"It was a sad day as it is the end of an era for me but these things happen in football," said "Jamo", a former Goodison trainee. "I have got to say a huge thank you to everyone who came. I would thank them all individually if I could. I would have been pleased with 100 turning up so to get 400, I was made-up."

He got a good reception from the fans as the players did a guard of honour for the 27-year-old as he ran out onto the pitch.

"I didn't want to do that! The lads had been telling me they were going to but I thought they were just winding me up. I felt a little bit silly but it was nice of them to do it."

"I would like to thank those former Accrington players who turned up and Neville and Dave and the actors, Michael Ryan and Alex Lawlor, from Dreamteam. And John (Coleman) and Jimmy (Bell) for letting me play the game - and cheating as usual!"

Jamie played for his XI at the start of the game - with 2000 players Jay Flannery, Mark Brennan, Russell Payne, Brett Baxter and current defender Jonathan Smith among others - and in the second half played behind the current Stanley team.

Manager John Coleman did use the testimonial to have a look at many of the trialists still competing at Stanley while some the regulars - Steve Halford, Robbie Williams, Andy Procter, Steve Flitcroft and Paul Howarth - played their part.

"It would have been nice for some of the other lads to play but I understand that they have big games coming up and the manager wanted to avoid them picking up any kinds of injury," said the keeper.

Coleman and Jimmy Bell came on later to the delight of the fans and the manager wasn't happy as he was desperate to put the ball in the back of the net.

Bell appealed for a penalty after HE pulled back defender Robbie Williams in the area - but it was all good natured as Speare enjoyed his day.

"I wanted to play for both sides and it worked out well," said the keeper.

Speare did show some skill at nutmegging Damien Hindle early on but the striker got his revenge by slotting past the keeper on six minutes. Hindle got the better of former Everton player Watson to make it two while Southall - playing as a defender - did everything he could to thwart the striker by even throwing himself at the youngster!

Steve Halford scored the third after the break from a Howarth free kick while trialist Griff Jones made it four.

Former Manchester City keeper Keiron Westwood had to impress in the second half after taking over in the nets for the Jamie Speare XI - he did well to deny Hindle a hat-trick and kept out numerous Stanley attacks.

The Jamie Speare XI couldn't quite get a goal - Coleman and Bell tried everything to get one in although it didn't quite happen.

But it wasn't about the game - it was about Jamie Speare and the fans' favourite got the chance to say his good-byes.

STANLEY: Alcock, Ryder, Howarth, Halford, Procter, Flitcroft, Lynch, Carvill, Hindle, Jones, Lock. Subs: Irons, Naughton, Williams.

JAMIE SPEARE XI: Speare, Doolan, Flannery, Watson, Brennan, Baxter, Payne, Durnin, Ryan, Smith, Southall. Subs: Tomlinson, McCarter, Lawlor, Coleman, Bell.


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