Wembley debut for prize-winning football fanBy Amy Taylor
March 14, 2013
A FOOTBALL fan was thrilled with a competition prize that allowed him to rub shoulders with star players at Wembley.
Doug Nash, from Aldershot, won the chance to train at the new England team headquarters at St George’s Park, Burton, Staffordshire, and run out at the national stadium.
Part of a fans’ competition organised by car manufacturer Vauxhall, one of the England team sponsors, Doug was one of 30 national winners who were treated to coaching sessions from current England coach and former Manchester United right-back, Gary Neville.
The group met at the National Football Centre in Burton for the two-day experience, where they tried out luxury equipment at St George’s Park, such as a hydrotherapy pool, after a hard day’s training.
They also stayed at the England team hotel before travelling south to Wembley in the team bus to take part in the match of fans’ dreams.
The amateurs were surprised at Wembley by the arrival of England legends Stuart Pearce and Ray Wilkins, in a game refereed by Howard Webb.
This was in addition to playing in teams captained by ex-Premier League stars Graeme Le Saux and Steve Claridge.
Doug, who lives in Stone Street, said: "The two days were a dream come true and an unbelievable experience.
"We had an access-all-areas pass to what life is like inside the England camp and the facilities at St George’s Park are phenomenal.
"To be coached by Gary Neville and then managed by Stuart Pearce and Ray Wilkins – all England heroes – was a real surprise.
"And running out at Wembley is something I will never forget – it really has been two days that every football fan dreams of."
Stuart Pearce, who manages the England under-21s, said the players had been fantastic.
"You can’t describe the feeling you have when you run out of the tunnel at Wembley and I am sure they will all remember that for the rest of their lives," he added.