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Davis backs Lustgarten memorial

    Former Westdene boss Steve Davis insists the 2011 Ryan Lustgarten Shield will be a huge success – despite two MJSL teams being forced to withdraw from the competition.

    Republic of Mancunia and Crumpsall had accepted an invitation to play in Monday's tournament before the MJSL fixture list had been published.

    But both clubs have reluctantly declined to field a side after being handed two league games in the opening week of the season.

    Manchester Maccabi and a team known as Ryan's All-Stars, which will be led by Jonny Alexander and Darren Loofe, have stepped into the breach to ensure the tournament can go ahead.

    Both sides will join a team of ex-Westdene players and local side Radcliffe, who won the four-team tournament last season

    And Davies is delighted that Monday's event will go ahead following a clash with the MJSL league programme.

    "It's a really important tournament and I'm thrilled it's going ahead," he said.

    "I'm really grateful to Manchester Maccabi boss Stuart Delmonte for getting a team together and also to both Jonny and Darren.

    "We want to do this for Ryan with all the teams and players making a donation to charity.

    "Everyone's clubbed together with Radcliffe giving us the pitches for free and the referees donating their match fees. It should be a really great day."

    Davis also revealed that plans are already underway for next season's 10th anniversary with Coronation Street Ryan Thomas, who plays Jason Grimshaw in the soap, set to lead a Corrie XI for the occasion.

    Thomas, a childhood friend of Lustgarten, is expected to present the trophy once again this year before setting his sights on arranging next season's event.

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