BATTLE OF THE SIXES!

It's men against boys at the annual London Soccer Sixes tournament...

Robbie Williams, Blur‘s DAMON ALBARN, ROD STEWART, STEREOPHONICS, THE BLUETONES, BUSH, MASSIVE ATTACK’s 3D and REEF were amongst the star names competing in the sixth annual SOCCER SIX charity fundraiser at CHELSEA FC’s STAMFORD BRIDGE ground in London on Saturday (May 27).

The celebrities were lending their skills to raise money for the Help A London Child charity.

But the story of the day was Robbie Williams‘ discovery that old rockers can still give the new breed a run for their money when his All Stars were defeated by Rod Stewart‘s team. The 54-year-old rocker, showing no signs of the surgery that press reports alleged he had had last week, acknowledged his triumph by playfully patting Williams on the backside as he left the pitch at the end of the game.

Depsite the setback Williams’ team still progressed through the early stages to win the competition, defeating the teen pop of Lee from Steps in a side that included TV presenters Ant and Dec, several soap opera actors and former Liverpool and England star Peter Beardsley.

But Williams was nowhere to be seen in the latter stages of the competition. Following defeat to Stewart, he retreated to the VIP bar to watch England draw their friendly international against Brazil. Instead he fielded a team of ‘ringers’ featuring professionals fron his local club Port Vale and ex-Republic of Ireland hero Ray Houghton .

And a possible Massive Attack/Blur collaboration may be in the offing. While Blur‘s team played their semi-final against Robbie Williams‘ side, frontman Damon Albarn, the only member of the band in attendance, preferred to remain on the bench, deep in conversation with fellow sub, 3D from Massive Attack.

It was also a day that saw rock triumphing over indie and subsequently falling at the hands of pop. The competition, which in the past had Blur pitched against Oasis at the height of their Britpop war, this year saw a Bush and Reef mix defeat The Bluetones, despite some sterling midfield action from Bluetones mainman Mark Morriss.

Earlier in the afternoon Stereophonics, with a guest appearance from former Liverpool legend Ian Rush, went down to a team featuring Shovel from M People.

Older football fans not content watching the stars of music puff around the pitch were happy instead to spot professional players of yesteryear. Aside from Beardsley, Rush and Houghton, also on display were former Manchester United players Neil Webb and Terry Gibson, Liverpool and Spurs winger Paul Walsh and midfield scrapper Mickey Hazard.

The competition also brought out a smattering of well-known female faces from UK television. Presenters Gail Porter, Cat Deeley and Lisa Rogers got stuck into their game. Girl about town and habitue of society gossip columns Tara Palmer-Tompkinson preferred to encourage from the bench.

Of the few on display who came up with some post-match comment, Bush’s Gavin Rossdale offered the best line in footballing cliches. Blaming his side’s quarter-final exit on the fact that they were made up solely of people from bands rather than footballing professionals he joked: “I’m really happy with the lads. They gave their all and we’ll be back.”