Press Centre

Lee Mack’s Road to Soccer Aid

  • Episode:

    1 of 1

  • Transmission (TX):

    Wed 01 Sep 2021

  • TX Confirmed

    Yes

  • Time

    9.00pm - 10.00pm

  • Week:

    Week 35 2021 : Sat 28 Aug - Fri 03 Sep

  • Channel:

    ITV

  • Published:

    Wed 18 Aug 2021

Lee Mack’s Road to Soccer Aid

Lee Mack’s Road to Soccer Aid follows Lee’s hilarious journey to get match fit, improve his technique and banish his footballing demons in the hope that he will score at Manchester City’s Eithad Stadium on the 4 September. After three penalty misses in three consecutive Soccer Aid matches, Lee has his work cut out and has decided to pull up his socks and pull out all the stops to make Soccer Aid 2021 his year.  Along the way Lee meets some famous friends, experts and sporting legends to help him achieve his dream. 

This warm, charming and funny 60 minute special, produced by Initial, will also explore how children around the world have benefitted from the generosity of the Soccer Aid audience as Lee finds out more about the lives that have been changed by the extraordinary work of UNICEF. He’ll also be asking his famous friends to sponsor him along the way, which results in a few unexpected challenges for Lee.

Lee Mack Interview

What made you want to take part in the show?

Even though I’m one of the ‘lesser abled’, shall we say, Soccer Aid people that play every year, I am more like everyone else at home who just aren’t that great at football. It’s a bit like driving. Everyone thinks they're a really good driver but the reality is, most people aren’t. I’m in my early 50’s, I want people to know it’s not as easy as it looks!

What’s the best piece of advice you received along the way whilst making this show?

Probably from Rob Brydon who said ‘forget it, you’ve got no ability whatsoever’. Though I’m a bit deluded with my footballing skills so can find that a little hard to take!

Are you approaching the Soccer Aid match differently this year after making this show?

I am...but in my own way. They ask what number do you want to have on the back of your shirt. In previous years for example, after Usain Bolt had his world record of 9.58 as his number, I chose to have my best 100 metres time which was 95.8. Last year was 999 incase anyone needed to ring me an ambulance. This year however, I’ve gone for number 7. It’s an iconic number in football, many famous players have worn the number 7 shirt - David Beckham, Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish.

But my bar is very low - I just don’t want to be the worst player on the pitch. I don’t want to be the best player, that’s impossible. But what I can do, is be the second worst. I think that would be a great achievement. I mean, clealy, the ultimate would be to score a goal. I’ve had three penalties in the past three years of playing and I’ve had two real chances to score in the matches. All of them I’ve fluffed.

What’s your happiest memory of playing in the Soccer Aid matches?

Happiest? I can tell you my least happy memory. I absolutely love Eric Cantona. He ran passed me on the pitch, I was so out of breath I said to him ‘I’m too old for this’. He turned, looked at me and said ‘yes, I know I’m too old’. I ran after him saying ‘no, no I meant me’. He is like one of my footballing heroes and he thinks I’m having a go at him.

One of my happiest memories was in 2019. They put us in suits like it’s the FA Cup Final and we are all walking around the pitch. Four of us just happened to be together and someone said lets do a quick photograph. I guess I was daydreaming a bit and it was only when I looked round I realised it was me, John Terry, Michael Essien and Drogba. All these massive icons of football...and me. Guttingly I’ve lost the photo.

What does it feel like missing a penalty at a stadium in front of a crowd of people?

It’s funny actually because, the first time, the script was all there...it was the penalty to win the game. It still haunts me to this day the phrase the commentator said as I stepped up... ‘Lee Mack to win it’. I was absolutely convinced I was going to score. I just thought this is all laid out for me to be a hero here. And I didn’t. It went wide - not as wide as Robbie Savage said it was in the commentary mind – and that still bugs me! I thought I was going to score and everyone was going to hold me aloft. And they didn’t. Blake Harrison stepped up, he scored and they all held him aloft. The second time, I missed again. And the third time? I still missed. So what’s different this year? AlI I will say is, it’s harder than it looks.

If you had the choice, who would you sign up to play in this year's Soccer Aid for Unicef match?

I’d probably pick Razor Ruddock because then I might have a fighting chance of not looking the unfittest!

Has football played a big part in your life growing up?

Oh massive. Huge and it still does. I associate football with times in my life. I can picture my life in World Cups and FA Cups. Football is like a timeline of places and people for me from my childhood to now.

Why is it important for you that you take part in Soccer Aid for Unicef?

Two fold. It’s the obvious but it raises a huge amount of money of Unicef. What Unicef do I can’t even begin to put in a few sentences. I can't think of a more worthwhile thing to support. And I would be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t living the dream. It’s not like we’re climbing Kilimanjaro, but it allows an old duffer like me to pretend I’m a footballer...for about an hour.