Goalkeepers 'r' Us. Well, not just goalkeepers, but some of the greatest exponents of the art are among the famous Ambassadors of Sparks, the children's medical research charity, founded and supported by many of Britain's leading sportsmen and women.With Ray Clemence as a dedicated vice-president and Peter Shilton, Gordon Banks, Pat Jennings, Bruce Grobbelaar, Neville Southall, Dave Beasant and Tony Parkes hands-on champions, Sparks's links with the goalkeeping brotherhood are particularly strong.While among great footballing names more associated with the art of putting the ball past the keeper, Sir Geoff Hurst is Sparks's president 2010, and Sir Trevor Brooking a trustee and vice-president and the legendary Jimmy Hill, one of the charity's original founders, remains Honorary Life President. Matt Le Tissier, Mark Bright, Ossie Ardiles, Ricky Villa, Glenn Hoddle, Alan Kennedy, Alan Hansen, Alan McInally and Alan Brazil are just some of the great football names who support Sparks.CHARITIES CHARITIES CHARITIES CHARITIES CHARITIES CHARITIES is very proud to support the efforts of charity organisations Sparks, Help for Heroes, CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA and Everyman. We encourage our readers to support them too and wish them continued success with their inspirational work.One of the greatest medical success stories of the last century is the amazing increase in the survival rate from childhood leukaemia - but leukaemia still claims the lives of one in five children diagnosed in the UK.CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA is Britain's leading charity dedicated to the conquest of this devastating disease. Not only do we fund ground-breaking research into the development of more effective, yet kinder, treatments, but we have a worldwide programme of research investigating the underlying causes of the disease.While research is the key to protecting future generations, the charity also remembers that there are children suffering today by supporting a number of community based initiatives, including children's hospices and other organisations that support families outside the hospital setting.For more information, please visit www.leukaemia.org or telephone: 020 7404 0808.
32SPRING 2010Fraser hung up his gloves... and his washbag!OUTSIDE THE BOXIn our series of features with retired keepers, talks to Fraser Digby - a former Manchester United apprentice who fulfilled his dream of playing in the Premier League the hard way.Ok mate, see you in the bar." As Marc Bircham, Paul Furlong and the rest of his teammates left the Loftus Road dressing room, Fraser Digby stared straight through the steam into an uncertain future. Rangers' embarrassing defeat at the hands of Vauxhall Motors from the Unibond League not only signalled the end of their FA Cup exploits for another year, but for their 36-year old keeper, it meant the end of the road as a professional footballer."I had that feeling in the pit of my stomach. I just knew that was it." said Fraser " It went to penalties and I had the chance to be the hero. But they beat us and that was that. The club was skint, my contract was up and I knew I didnt want to drop down the leagues. So it was pretty obvious, it was over."Today, 7 years on, the memories of more than 500 league appearances remain clear. That final match comes to all pros one day. But that inevitable day did little to quell the panic he was feeling.Red DevilFraser had come a long way since his days "Image courtesy of Dave Evans/Swindon Advertisera regular feature on life post retirement