General Ivan Cleary to bend it before Beckham



Warriors coach Ivan Cleary is ditching the oval ball this weekend in favour of a round one.

The league legend is playing in the Soccer with the Stars game in the lead-up to New Zealand’s football event of the year – when LA Galaxy, led by superstar David Beckham, take on the Oceania All Stars.
Players on the two celebrity teams representing charities KidsCan and John Walker’s Find Your Field of Dreams are a mix of telly talent, media personalities, radio livewires, sports stars and other familiar faces.
"It’ll be fun," Cleary says. "It’s going to be a pretty big event. In terms of global stars Beckham’s right up there."
Cleary’s 11-year-old son Nathan also has a role to play as one of the Dream Team, a group of lucky kids chosen to accompany an Oceania or Galaxy player on to the field.
The sports fanatic says if he were to be paired up with Becks it would be "unreal".
Having played in representative soccer teams as a teenager growing up in Sydney, Cleary senior isn’t a complete stranger to the sport.
But the Meadowbank resident says switching codes for the exhibition game will take a bit of getting used to.
"I played a charity game about four years ago and that’d be the only game I’ve played in since I was 18."
Asked if there’s any chance of him picking up the ball and running with it, Cleary says "nah, I should be able to work that out. Perhaps I’ll be the goalkeeper."
His teammates on Team KidsCan include John "Cocksy" Cocks, Kerre Woodham, actress Miriama Smith and Shortland Street’s Will Hall, who plays Kip.
"It’s a good cross section, it’ll be a bit of a laugh," he says.
"I see Monty (Betham)’s on the other team so we’ll try not to make him too angry. You don’t want to get him fired up," Cleary says.
The league star come boxer come dancer will be adding to his list of talents alongside fellow Field of Dreams stars including television personalities Carol Hirschfeld and Jason Gunn, A1GP driver Jonny Reid and swimmer Moss Burmester.
Cleary says after a training session on Sunday a few players were showing promise.
"Goran (Paladin) from Radio Sport looks pretty handy and some of the girls were really good, like Kathryn Harby-Williams the netballer, she did all right.
"There’s a lot of competitive type people so from my experience when you play games like this it starts off fun and then it gets a bit competitive."
• The Mt Smart Stadium gates open at 4.30pm on Saturday.
Soccer with the Stars kicks off at 5.30pm, followed by pre-match entertainment from 6.30pm, allowing the celebs to get showered and changed before the Galaxy game begins at 7.30pm.
For tickets visit or call 0800 ticketek.


Awww good on No-hairy mCleary from Mt Smart Dairy!
I'm sure it will be a blast.


Is the Soccer with the Stars game going to be televised, anyone know???

Would be a good watch! :D


David Beckham - doesn't drink, happily married with 3 kids - what sort of a sporting role model is that for today's youth???????

Bring back the likes of Georgie Best, that's what I say (a real role model for kids wanting to get on in sport!)


Nothing wrong with his way of life. You dont' have to rat arsed in public as a role model. He does his job very nicely. But personally I don't like him. LOL


Nothing wrong with his way of life. You dont' have to rat arsed in public as a role model. He does his job very nicely. But personally I don't like him. LOL

Skinny, it was a joke. George Best was a prodigious talent who won a World Cup but drank himself to death. He was a star of his time and his death at the age of 61 is a tragedy. Beckham, on the other hand, doesn't subscribe to that vice.


Ivan Cleary keeps coming out of the woodwork to play in charity football matches, lol.


George Best never won a World Cup as he played for Northern Ireland! He did, however, win a European Cup with manchester United at 17 I think, he also dated about 300 page 3 models, and had a habit for turning up drunk to play matches (in which he invariably still scored goals.)

He retired at the grand old age of 27 but made a brief comeback for Fulham - plus a stint in the USA, along with Rodney Marsh and a few of his other old drinking and gambling buddies.

He once apeared on primetime tv - the Wogan show, no less - somewhat worse for wear and asked Omah Sharif, of all people, if he like women with large breasts.

He drank himself to death about 4 years ago, but he was on his second liver by then.

Now that man was a role model for today's sporting youth.


Apologies, LordGnome - I took him conquering the world in a red jersey as being an Englishman - not a Manchester United man. My bad!

And it was more recently than four years ago. It was not long after my Dad died - I remember this because they were the same age. So it must have been 2007, or thereabouts.


I was at my old job, so it was between 2 and 5 years ago - I remember having to explain who he was to an girl in her 20s who had obviously had a sheltered life!

And talking of sporting role models, could Beckham compete with any of our 1970s heros - what about the great Chinese player, Lee Won Pen (think about it!)

Fat and bald and fighting Normal "bites yer legs" Hunter!

You gotta love the 70s football and music;

David who? The Spice Girls or Slade? Come on people!
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