Arsenal home game nets UJIA £148k

March 24, 2011
Craig Fisher, Alan Mullery, Jim White and Daniel Conway.

Craig Fisher, Alan Mullery, Jim White and Daniel Conway.

UJIA supporters were urged to take the fifth on Monday - and reacted generously.

Making the appeal to the 400 guests at its annual sports dinner and quiz, UJIA sports group chair Craig Fisher asked them to add 20 per cent to their intended donation. The additional cash would, he said, improve the charity's ability to help alleviate "shocking and unacceptable poverty" through its programmes in northern Israel's Galil region, as well as funding UK educational activities.

Many took up the invitation, enabling UJIA to bring in £148,000, an increase on the event's 2010 total.

This year's dinner was held at a banqueting suite at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, with VIP guests including Fulham and Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who had been widely tipped as a Gunners signing during the summer transfer window. The Spurs fans among the crowd were catered for by the appearance of former stars Alan Mullery and Gary Mabbutt. Ex-Newcastle boss Chris Hughton, another Tottenham old boy, also attended, while Chris Cowdrey represented the cricket world.

The north London football rivalry was reflected in the auction, where the lots included observer status at training days at Spurs and Arsenal.

Mark Schwarzer

Mark Schwarzer

Also up for grabs was a two-hour coaching session at a school of choice from West Ham boss Avram Grant, who sent a message of support to dinner guests.

A Wembley seat signed by World Cup hero Geoff Hurst was another auction lot, as was a behind the scenes tour at a Sky Sports broadcast. The channel's own Jim White was compere, posing the quiz questions and increasingly obscure special rounds for prizes such as tickets to Mikhail Gorbachev's 80th birthday celebration at the Royal Albert Hall.

Contributions to the sum of human knowledge included the apparent fact that Steven Gerrard's favourite cheese is... melted.

"It was a great night for a great cause," Mr Fisher said afterwards. "It was amazing to see so many people attending their first UJIA event."

Last updated: 2:35pm, March 24 2011