The man of the moment gets what should be a fantastic tournament underway in the most stylish manner imaginable...

The irrepressible DARIUS from ‘POPSTARS’ will be on hand to sing his version of the National Anthem, ‘GOD SAVE THE QUEEN’, at the first ever strong NME CARLING CUP five-a-side football at CRYSTAL PALACE NATIONAL INDOOR ARENA in aid of the NSPCC on February 4.

As previously revealed on NME.COM, celebrities from the world of rock, pop and sport will compete in the first ever NME Carling Cup, a five-a-side football competition which forms part of the celebrations for this year’s NME Carling Awards.

Teams include star players such as David Gray, The Dreem Teem, Reef, The Bluetones, Atomic Kitten, ‘Big Brother’ contestants Nasty Nick and Mel, ex-Take That star Mark Owen, Terrorvision, Idlewild, Gene, Crashland, MTV’s Edith Bowman, ‘Casualty’ star Clare Goose, a Radio 1 squad likely to feature Steve Lamacq and Jamie Theakston, as well as ex-football professionals including Neil Webb, Ray Houghton and Mickey Thomas.

However, prior to the tournament, Darius has agreed to perform the song. He told NME.COM: “It’s so great to be asked to perform the National Anthem at the NME Carling Cup, to raise awareness for such an important cause as the NSPCC. Uniting to raise money for charity through music and events like Comic Relief, Band Aid and the NME Carling Cup is great”.

Leading the teams from the manager’s dug-out will be music industry loudmouth and sports agent impresario Eric ‘Monster Monster’ Hall.

Doors open for the event at 11am, and the tournament kicks off at 12 noon.

Throughout the day, there will be music, live commentary and competition prizes to be won.All profits from the ticket sales will be donated to the NSPCC.

The NME Carling Cup takes place just 48 hours before the NME Carling Awards 2001 on February 6.

Tickets for the match are priced #10 (subject to booking fee) and are available from ATC on 0115 912 9000.