A testimonial match or testimonial game, often referred to simply as a testimonial, is a practice in some sports, particularly in football in the United Kingdom and South America, where a club has a match to honour a player for service to the club. These matches are always non-competitive.
The practice started at a time when player compensation, even those at top professional clubs, was at a level that made it difficult to maintain it as a primary form of employment therefore retirement savings might not exist. These matches are generally well-attended and the gesture by the club can give the honoree income that enables a retirement income base or enable the honoree an opportunity to establish themselves in other employment when they finished playing. This is still the main objective of testimonials in Australia and some other countries.
Clubs typically grant testimonials to players upon reaching ten years of service with a club, although in recent years they have been given to players for particular circumstances such as approaching retirement. Typically, the club invites (depending on the career of the honoree) current or retired teammates (typically the honoree's club and national team) to participate in the match or with the associated festivities. All proceeds from the match go to the player which depending on the applicable country laws may be tax-free.
These matches have become less frequent as changes have occurred in football that make the original purpose less needed or appreciated. Wages have increased, players may not stay with a club as long as they had formerly and those top players that have the esteem of the public and in the past had financial need for such assistance make it less likely for the public support the purpose of these matches. However, testimonial matches for players who have given many years of service to the club (i.e. one-club men) and are popular with fans and have a higher turnout.
Testimonials in top-level football have continued to honour a player but have increasingly become charitable affairs, in which the player gives part or all of the proceeds to charitable activities. For example, longtime Sunderland and Republic of Ireland star Niall Quinn, in a "friendly" in 2002 at the Stadium of Light, donated all of the nearly-£1-million proceeds of the match to the charitable foundation he started that go to the support of children's hospitals in Tyne and Wear, Ireland, and India. Another high-profile charitable testimonial was that of England rugby player Martin Johnson, held at Twickenham on 4 June 2005. This event, which featured many rugby union stars, benefited children's and cancer charities. On 4 September 2010, a crowd of 35,682 attended Jamie Carragher's testimonial match at Anfield, after fifteen years of service to Liverpool, and helped to raise more than £1 million for the defender's "23 Foundation" charity.
Players who have received testimonialsEdit
- Tony Adams (Arsenal)
- Luis Roberto Alves (Club America)
- Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal)
- Jim Cannon (Crystal Palace)
- Len Cantello (West Bromwich Albion)
- Jamie Carragher (Liverpool)
- Michael Carrick (Manchester United)
- Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo)
- Kelvin Davis (Southampton)
- Dedé (Borussia Dortmund)
- Julian Dicks (West Ham United)
- Lloyd Doyley (Watford)
- Dougie Freedman (Crystal Palace)
- Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
- Ryan Giggs (Manchester United)
- Tony Hibbert (Everton)
- Martin Johnson (England rugby union team)
- Steve Kember (Crystal Palace)
- Martin Keown (Arsenal)
- Billy Meredith (Manchester United)
- Mark Noble (West Ham United)
- David O'Leary (Arsenal)
- Niall Quinn (Sunderland)
- Lucas Radebe (Leeds United)
- Simon Rodger (Crystal Palace)
- Ronaldo (Brazil)
- Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
- David Seaman (Arsenal)
- Alan Shearer (Newcastle United)
- Ole Gunnar Solskjær (Manchester United)
- Juan Pablo Sorín (Cruzeiro)
- Julián Speroni (Crystal Palace)
- Lewis Stevenson (Hibernian)
- Alan Tate (Swansea City)
- Andy Wilkinson (Stoke City)
- Lev Yashin (Dynamo Moscow)
- "Lucas Radebe: The original Kaiser Chief". BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
- "Should testimonials be scrapped?". BBC Sport. 25 May 2001. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
- "Payback time for footballers?". BBC Sport. 21 January 2002. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
- Time to Do Away With Testimonials for Rich Footballers[permanent dead link]
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 September 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
- Leatherdale, Duncan (1 August 2016). "What's the point of football testimonials like Wayne Rooney's?". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
- Brodkin, Jon (14 May 2002). "A night out for the Adams family". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
- "Pictures: Dennis Bergkamp's testimonial". Arsenal FC. 22 July 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
- "Palace In Perspective - TheEaglesBeak". TheEaglesBeak. 2013-11-28. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
- Chiles, Adrian (17 November 2016). "The match that pitted white players against black players". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
- "Brian Ching Testimonial Match". Houston Dynamo.
- Leitch, Adam (9 May 2016). "Kelvin Davis confirms that his testimonial game will be his last for Southampton". Southern Daily Echo. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
- "Interview – Lloyd Doyley Testimonial". FTRE. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
- "Friendly Match Crystal Palace v Fulham (Dougie Freedman Testimonial) at Selhurst Park - Days". Time Out London. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
- "Steven Gerrard: Liverpool captain has testimonial with Olympiakos". BBC Sport. BBC. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
- "Testimonial to Steve Kember". York Press. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
- Fudge, Simon. "Beckham appears in Keown test". Sky Sports. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
- Steinberg, Jacob (27 March 2016). "West Ham's Mark Noble: I didn't want a testimonial and Upton Park to be half-empty". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
- "David O'Leary factfile". The Guardian. 20 May 2003. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
1986: Collects estimated £100,000 from Highbury testimonial against Celtic to mark - a year late - his 10 years as an Arsenal professional.
- "Successful, experienced, versatile – and out of work". The Independent. 2002-07-29. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
- "Report: United 1 Espanyol 0". Manchester United FC. 2 August 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
- "Tuesday 26th May 2015: Julian Speroni Testimonial". Crystal Palace FC. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
- Hardie, David (9 July 2017). "Hibs 2, Sunderland 2: Hibees fight back in Stevenson's testimonial". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
- "LEGENDS RETURN AS UNITED TRIUMPH IN TATE TESTIMONIAL". Swansea City AFC. 9 August 2017. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
- "Over 16,000 fans salute GOAL scoring hero Andy Wilkinson at testimonial". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
- "The spider against the panther". FIFA. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2017.