A group of amateur footballers from Liverpool broke the world record for the longest ever game of 5-a-side football by playing continuously for 31 hours.
Two teams, playing as Liverpool and Everton and managed by stars Jamie Carragher and Leighton Baines, began at 11.30am on Saturday morning and played through the night, setting a new record shortly after 7.30pm on Sunday evening.
Liverpool were winners overall, beating the opposition 699-499, although the emphasis throughout was on the match being friendly, taking inspiration from the 1984 Milk Cup final between the Merseyside rivals.
The event was held at St. Mary’s College Sports Centre in Crosby,
where many supporters came along to cheer the players, including
Miss Liverpool Debbie O’Toole.
Honorary managers Carragher and Baines arrived for the final 30
minutes of play, with the former enjoying a brief stint as referee as
the game reached its climax.
Liverpool defender Carragher said: "Great congratulations to the
lads involved, not just today but for the training they’ve put in and
also to break a world record. They’re getting all the plaudits now
and deservedly so.
"We’re only just coming here at the end but you’ve got know what they’ve been through, through the night as well, when there’s probably no one here it’s probably a little bit difficult until all the people come towards the end."
The arena was decorated with various banners and flags donated by fans of both clubs to encourage the players. A mix of inspiring music was also played to keep up spirits, culminating in Queen’s ‘We are the Champions’ as the record was finally broken.
Each squad had eight players and could use rolling substitutes but all had to remain within the arena, apart from during designated breaks.
Every hour of football played earned the players a five minute break and they took advantage of that by having a 20-minute break every four hours - to eat, take a shower or grab a short sleep.
Michael Atherton, a member of the Liverpool team, was the only person to require medical treatment, having been taken to hospital suffering from dehydration around 16 hours into the attempt.
Atherton, who was top scorer at the time of his withdrawal, was later discharged and sent home to rest.
Mark Harwood, also playing for the Reds, was overall top scorer with 176 goals, but Atherton was on course for a landslide as he had already scored 140 times before he was taken to hospital.
As much as £20,000 could be raised for charity by the event, with funds raised going to Jamie Carragher’s 23 Foundation, Radio City’s Cash for Kids, and the Everton Foundation.
By Victoria J Fode, Chris Shaw & Danny Masters, JMU Journalism TV
The full squad with Liverpool's Jamie Carragher; JMU TV reports on the record-breaking 31-hour match
The 16 players who broke the record