This article originally appeared on Balls.ie in 2014
In the late 1990's/early 2000's, any young lad who was lucky enough to have access to Nickelodeon was no doubt a huge fan of the TV stations' own football related children's comedy show, Renford Rejects.
Week after week we would tune in to see what misadventures the lovable bunch of misfits got up to, and the terribly staged 5-a-side football matches in Renford Borough Park that concluded almost every show.
The show had a certain charm and ran for four seasons before being cancelled in 2002, but one thing that always stood out about Renford Rejects was it's ability to pull in some legitimately impressive guest star appearances, mostly from the World of football.
Here are 12 cameos that helped make Renford Rejects a brilliant childhood memory.
Ian Rush made a cameo appearance in an episode which was centred around the Rejects' school erecting an Ian Rush statue. For what reason we will never know, but Rush had a few awkward lines about the statue not being ready before a mannequin resembling the Liverpool legend was presented to the school principal.
Before good old 'Arry became a television personality by giving interviews out of the window of his car on transfer deadline day, Redknapp was the manager of West Ham, and featured in the Renford Rejects when Bruno somehow managed to get himself a trial. He actually appeared again in a later season at the Renford Sports Personality awards, so he was a big fan.
Sir Geoff Hurst
The man who scored the winning goal for England in the 1966 World Cup final also togged out for local chip shop owner Eddie McEvoy's team to take on Razors boss Basil Stoker in a challenge match. Hurst, and a number of other legends of '66 easily won the match. Obviously.
One of the best goalkeepers ever to play the game of football also appeared alongside Hurst in the McEvoy v Stoker challenge match, and as can be seen in the picture above, was delighted to come away with the win.
When he appeared as a potential signing for the Renford Rejects, John Harley was a Chelsea player and considered one of the best young players in England. He didn't sign for the Rejects, and he didn't go on to fulfil his potential, but this was a cracking cameo for the show at the time.
Roberto Di Matteo
A man who should need no introduction is golazo specialist Roberto Di Matteo. The Chelsea star popped onto the set of the Renford Rejects to collect an award for "best midfielder" at the Renford Sports Personality awards.
Another recipient of the prestigious Renford Sports Personality awards was then West Ham goalkeeper Shaka Hislop. After receiving the award for "best goalkeeper", Hislop went on to play in an FA Cup Final and for Trinidad and Tobago at the 2006 World Cup. He is now an analyst for ESPN in the US.
Jim Rosenthal & Bob Wilson
ITV's iconic Champions League commentators from the time period also were recurring characters on Renford Rejects. The duo would regularly commentate over Rejects matches on VTV (Vinny Television, Vinny being a mate of the Rejects with a camcorder) and nobody knew why.
Legendary QPR talisman Stan Bowles featured on the show when the Rejects took a trip to Loftus Road to watch a Rangers match. Jason Summerbee managed to blag his way into the stadium and arrange a half-time shootout with Bowles, which his team-mates somehow managed to miss.
Arsenal defender turned BBC pundit Martin Keown popped up in an episode of the Renford Rejects where both our purple-clad protagonists and their rivals the Razors convinced pro players to join their team. Keown made light of his hard-man persona by diving and allowing the Rejects star to out muscle him all over the pitch. The Rejects star player was of course...
Bruno Di Gradi's hero and Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola also played a match for the Rejects where, like Keown, he was the polar opposite of his reputation. Zola barged people off the ball and played dirty, before eventually being ordered off.
In fact, the second half of the episode featuring Keown and Zola is so good we recommend you watch it, thankfully it (along will almost every episode of the show) is on YouTube:
We were delighted to stumble across this. Not yet famous James Corden was an extra in the Renford Rejects, and he played the acclaimed role of "Razor #1". He was a bully who tried to intimidate Bruno Di Gradi, before eventually apologising after being convinced that Bruno's uncle was a mob boss. Brilliant stuff.
And there you have it. Nickelodeon's Renford Rejects captured the hearts and minds of loads of kids at the turn of the Millennium, and evidently a few football stars as well. Strange how it seems that football didn't exist outside of London Premiership teams though.
By the way, during research for this post we came across numerous sources claiming John Terry also made an appearance on the show, but we watched damn near every episode on YouTube and couldn't find him, so if you can vividly remember which episode he popped up in, be sure to let us know.