A FOOTBALL legend is leaving behind the glamour of the pitch for a night sleeping rough.

Former Middlesbrough striker Bernie Slaven is joining dozens of fellow fundraisers to spend the night in the cold in the fight against poverty and homelessness.

The third Big Tees Sleepout is being held in the grounds of Middlesbrough College overlooking Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium on Friday, April 25.

Funds raised will go towards food banks, soup kitchens, hostels for the homeless and others in desperate need across Teesside.

He said: “I’ll be brutally honest, I’m not looking forward to it. But there are people not just in England but here on Teesside who have to do this every night so I’m sure I can put up with the cold for one night to raise awareness of the problem. It’s 2014, for goodness sake. It’s a disgrace that anyone is homeless.”

Among those joining the ex-footballer will be Father Paul Farrer and members of the Middlesbrough Youth Mission team.

Two sponsored sleepouts held last year raised a combined £27,000 – but organisers Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation are hoping to hit new heights this time.

Andy Preston, chairman of a charity, said: “We’re delighted to have Bernie joining us this time and hopefully a few Boro fans will take up the mantle too.”

The third Big Tees Sleepout takes place at Middlesbrough College on Friday April 25 and Saturday April 26 from 7pm to 7am.

To sign up, for more information or to sponsor those taking part in the Big Tees Sleepout, visit www.bigteessidesleepout.co.uk