Football Aid was founded in 2000 by Scottish businessman, Craig Paterson, as a means of raising money to find a cure for diabetes; a condition his son was diagnosed with at the age of 12. Although a fan of football himself, he had always been astonished by how much people were prepared to spend on football memorabilia and it made him wonder how much they would pay to live the dream of scoring a goal at Celtic Park, Ibrox or Old Trafford. The concept of Football Aid was born: the experience of a lifetime giving football fans the chance to step into the boots of their heroes and play for their club or country at world famous grounds.
In May 2001, all across the UK, over 1,200 football fans pulled on their favourite shirts, walked through the tunnel and kicked off Football Aid's first season of games. With the support of a host of footballing heroes including Steve Bull, Gary Mabbutt and Sir Bobby Robson, Football Aid's Patron, it was a resounding success and since then Football Aid has grown from strength to strength.
We made our first overseas signing, Barcelona FC in 2003, giving fans of the Catalan giants the chance to play at the Camp Nou, widely recognised as one of the world's finest football grounds. A year later, our first International event in association with the SFA and our sponsors BT Scotland took place, allowing fans to pull on the revered dark blue of Scotland and play alongside Scottish legends Danny McGrain (our Vice Patron), Gary McAllister and John McGinlay on the hallowed turf of Hampden.
In 2005, 'Celebrity Live the Dream' premiered under the floodlights of Upton Park. A Football Aid 'All Stars' side tried their luck against a formidable Celebrity team which included the likes of Steve Harris from Iron Maiden, former World Boxing Champion Colin McMillan, international boxer and ABA champion Tony Cesay and West Ham Legend Steve Potts. No surprise then, when the Celebrities romped home to a 9-4 victory...
In 2007, the Jersey Festival of Football 'Live The Dream' events were part of the inaugural Jersey Festival of Football, sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland International and supported by Jersey States. Our games took place at Jersey's Springfield Stadium in September and were a fantastic success, with Legends Graeme Le Saux, Kevin Gallacher, Pat Nevin, Chris Waddle, Viv Anderson and Danny McGrain all involved.
In 2010, we celebrated our 10th anniversary 'Decade of Dreams' season by announcing that former Manchester United and Scotland Legend Denis Law was to take over from the late Sir Bobby Robson as our Patron.
Since our debut season in 2001 Football Aid have allowed over 14,000 football fans the chance to Live the Dream in more than 535 charity football matches all over the UK and just over £2M has been paid out or designated as payable to charities in the 13 years since. With further Celebrity matches made available in recent years, a new training experience: the Legends Master Class to tempt the taste buds and the aim of furthering our international approach to include England, Ireland and Wales, the future certainly looks bright for Football Aid.
Winner of "Business in the Community" Award category in the Edinburgh Evening News - Lothian Business Excellence Awards 2005.
Finalist in the National Business Awards in the Customer Focus and Corporate Social Responsibility categories 2005.
Craig Paterson, Chairman, was a finalist in the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2005.
Winner of "New Corporate Partner Award 2004" from Diabetes UK.
Craig Paterson was ‘Highly Commended' in 2003 and ‘Shortlisted' in 2004 for The Beacon Prize - in recognition of his outstanding contribution to charitable and social causes.