THE family of Liam Miller have been humbled by the outpouring of support they have received ahead of two major fundraising events in honour of the Cork City FC legend.
The former Manchester United and Celtic player passed away earlier this year at the age of 36 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
A star-studded line-up will take to the pitch at Turners Cross on September 25 for a benefit match in his honour with all funds going to his family.
“Cork is an extraordinary sporting city and county and the footballing community here and abroad have come up trumps for what promises to be a unique occasion,” said family friend and organiser of the event Michael O’Flynn.
“The reaction to this event shows the goodwill of sports people towards a former teammate and his family and how highly Liam was regarded.
“The Miller family are delighted at the support the events have gained and are humbled by the whole thing,” he added.
Tickets for the upcoming Liam Miller tribute game are expected to like gold dust, with an all-star sporting cast lined up to be involved.
Sir Alex Ferguson will manage a team of former Manchester United players, including Denis Irwin, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Jaap Stam in Turner's Cross on September 25, while Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill will manage a team of Ireland and Celtic legends, including former Ireland captain Robbie Keane and Premier League winner Damien Duff.
There has been some disappointment locally that the game is still scheduled for Turner's Cross due to the star quality on show resulting in a spike in interest.
Cork City FC's home ground has a maximum capacity of just 7,485. It had been hoped that the redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh and its capacity of 45,000 would be available but this has proven not to be the case.
Organiser and family friend Michael O'Flynn said that GAA rules prevented the use of the pitch for the occasion.
“However, they have offered their facilities for any other event we might like to hold in honour of Liam, but unfortunately rules prevented us from being able to use the stadium,” he explained.
The match, which will kick off at 3pm, will be followed by a Black Tie Gala Dinner at City Hall that evening.
Former teammates of Liam from his time with Manchester United, Celtic and the Republic of Ireland will line out for the two special tribute events.
The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mick Flynn praised the goodwill shown by Liam’s former colleagues in the game.
“The Miller family suffered a devastating loss with Liam’s tragic passing earlier this year, and it is fantastic to see how the football community has responded so magnificently to this tribute match,” he said.
“I am sure that the people of Cork, and indeed the country, will also come out in force to support this great initiative.
“It promises to be a unique sporting event with so many greats of football set to take part,” he added.
A number of people who knew and worked with Liam have helped to organise this tribute match including Sir Alex Ferguson, Roy Keane, and Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward, Cork City manager John Caulfield, former Irish international John Giles as well as family neighbour and friend, Michael O’Flynn.
Former Ireland and Man United captain Roy Keane said that the former players were quick to respond to requests to participate as they had fond memories of Liam.
"Liam and his family deserve it.
“Sport brings people together,” he added.
“It will be a chance to celebrate his career. Liam has a very good family. All that has to be celebrated. I hope the whole family will enjoy it.”
Keane recalled his own spell of managing Miller.
"Liam had a huge impact in Sunderland when I was manager. It will be a chance to celebrate his career. Liam was a very good family. All that has to be celebrated. I hope the whole family will enjoy it."
Roy joked that as player-manager he didn't know how many minutes he would manage to line out for on the day. However, ever the perfectionist he quickly added that if he wasn't up to the job he would take himself off.
"At the moment we have 14 or 15 ex-United players committed so we will rotate. I don't think physically I will be up to playing the 90 minutes. If I am manager, I can dictate how many minutes I can get!"
He admitted the only injury worry was himself. He said that he was keenly anticipating managing the Man United side against Ireland Manager Martin O'Neill who will be responsible for the Celtic/Ireland legends team.
"Players pride kicks in when we get together. Martin will want to beat me and I will want to beat Martin."
Tables of 12 at the Black Tie Gala Dinner are priced at €4,000 and are almost sold out.
Tickets for the game will be on sale through Ticketmaster.ie on at 10am Friday, 20th July, 2018, at https://www.ticketmaster.ie/.
Tickets will cost €50 each and, due to the anticipated level of demand, a limit of four tickets per person will apply.
For further information, visit www.liammillertribute.com.
See Echo Sport for more.