The Scottish football team send Graeme Souness a good luck video ahead of his impressive challenge to swim across the English Channel to raise money to fight a devastating skin disease
- Souness won 54 caps for his country during his decorated playing career
- Chris Wood, who played under the Rangers manager, sent his best wishes
- The expert is set to complete his fundraising ‘mission’ this weekend
The Scottish football team have wished Graeme Souness luck ahead of his attempt to swim across the English Channel to raise funds and awareness for the fight against epidermolysis bullosa, or ‘butterfly skin’.
Souness played for his national team between 1974 and 1984 and also played in Scottish football, with spells at Rangers as a player and later as a manager.
The former Liverpool midfielder is set to take on the challenge this weekend in a bid to raise £1.1million for charity DEBRA’s A Life Free from Pain appeal, in tribute to his number player, 11.
The Mail Sport columnist was inspired to become a vocal EB campaigner after meeting Isla Grist, a 14-year-old who has had the condition since birth.
But many of his fans and former colleagues have been touched by his crusade to raise awareness of the disease using his extensive media platform, including the national team where he won 54 caps during his playing career.
Graeme Souness received well wishes for his fundraising in the Scottish Football Team’s Channel
Chris Wood, who played under Souness at Rangers, shared the message with his former manager
Isla Grist lives with epidermolysis bullosa, a life-threatening condition that affects the skin
Chris Wood, who played under Souness at Rangers between 1986 and 1991 and is now Scotland’s goalkeeping coach, was filmed wishing his former manager well, noting what a ‘great gesture’ the expert is about to undertake.
“On behalf of everyone here at the Scotland national team, I just wanted to wish you well with your charity swim across the English Channel,” Wood said.
“It’s a great gesture for a charity that I know means a lot to you, and I’m sure you’ll make a lot of money and spread the word about it. All the best, I hope you do it well.
The 70-year-old will swim across the English Channel with a team of six, including Isla’s father Andy, in a move that’s seen as more of a “mission” than anything.
“I had two to three months where I thought maybe I had bitten off more than I could chew,” he told Mail Sport, “but around month three or something , I began to understand.”
“I now want to do it as soon as possible. I don’t see it as a challenge, it’s our mission.
“I’ve been asked questions before, you know, about the big football games. Those were the glory days. It’s not about that. It’s about getting the job done.
There are many different types of EB, which tear or blister the skin at the slightest touch, but Isla has one of the worst and has had 65 surgeries to date.
Isla’s father, Andy Grist (left), takes on the challenge alongside Souness and four ex-marines
Souness is in incredible shape at 70 and relishes the challenge ahead of him
The condition has left her in constant pain and permanently bandaged to protect her skin, with blisters inside and outside her body, making it difficult even to walk.
The former Galatasaray manager had never heard of EB before meeting Isla, but it had a profound effect on Souness, and he is now vice-chairman of DEBRA.
Souness has been training in the freezing waters of Dorset for his swimming for the past nine months and has helped raise the profile of fundraising by appearing on programs such as BBC Breakfast.
Before taking to the waters this weekend as Souness raised over £969,886.