THEY just couldn’t resist it!
The lure of the turf, or to be more accurate, 3G pitch, proved too strong for Town boss Simon Grayson and his assistants Glynn Snodin and Ian Miller.
With Town providing the opposition in a testimonial for Crusaders captain Colin Coates over in Belfast, the trio all enjoyed run-outs at Seaview, where the home side won 3-2.
Back in the day Grayson, now 42, amassed more than 400 appearances as a midfielder, then defender for Leeds, Leicester, Aston Villa, Blackburn and Blackpool.
Snodin, 52, followed suit as he turned out at full-back for Doncaster, Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds, Hearts and Barnsley.
And one-time winger Miller, 55, topped 500 games for Bury, Doncaster, Swindon, Blackburn, Port Vale and Scunthorpe.
“It was great to be involved again,” smiled Snodin, who knows Coates well from his time as assistant manager of Northern Ireland to Nigel Worthington.
“Even in a friendly, you feel the old adrenalin pumping, and I think we all enjoyed ourselves.”
Snodin even risked a late challenge on Carl Frampton, the Belfast-based intercontinental champion boxer who played the final 15 minutes for his favourite club Crusaders.
“Luckily we had a laugh and shook hands,” explained the relieved Town coach.
Town, playing in Northern Ireland for the first time since 1965, had Anthony Gerrard and Jermaine Beckford on target.