Scottish Soccer Legend Graeme Souness to Swim the English Channel

kirstie-beechey-english channel 4
Photo Courtesy: Kirstie Beechey

Scottish Soccer Legend Graeme Souness to Swim the English Channel

Former Scottish soccer player and manager Graeme Souness has announced his intention to swim the English Channel to raise money for a rare skin condition.

Souness is raising funds and awareness for epidermolysis bullosa, a rare genetic skin condition that causes blisters and skin tears under the lightest contact. Souness met a 14-year-old girl from Scotland, Isla Grist, who suffers from the condition and was inspired to take on the swim for charity. He’s aiming to raise 1.1 million for the Debra charity, which supports around 5,000 people living with the condition in the UK, including Grist. It’s part of the organization’s A Life Free of Pain appeal.

Souness met Grist five years ago. He learned of her condition, which she’s dealt with since birth and required her to be bandaged near head to toe for stretches. EB is often likened to “butterfly skin” for the effect it has on sufferers.

“This disease… it’s the cruelest, nastiest disease,” Souness told the BBC. “For someone so young to be so brave… and Isla’s aware of the impact this has on her mum and dad and she helps them. This is a very special young lady you’re in the company of, she really is, and I am… she gets me in tears every time I’m in her company.”

Souness has been training with Grist’s father, Andy Grist. They and a team of four others will take on the 21-mile journey from England to France on June 18.

Souness had a long career as a midfielder from 1970-91, in England with Tottenham, Middlesborough and Liverpool. He also played for Italian club Sampdoria and Scottish club Rangers. He earned 54 caps for the Scottish national team.

Souness finished his career as player-manager of Rangers, based in Glasgow, for five years, winning three Scottish Premier Division titles. He would go on to manage Liverpool, winning the FA Cup in 1992, as well as stints at Southampton, Blackburn and Newcastle, plus for clubs in Turkey, Italy and Portugal. He’s served as a TV pundit for various networks over the last two decades.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x