Chris plays in dream game

A FOOTBALL fan from Rushden played in the biggest game of his life when he lined up alongside legends Stuart Pearce, Ray Parlour, Steve Claridge and Ray Wilkins at Wembley.

Chris Barlow, of Melloway Road, Rushden, won a place to play at Wembley as part of an England fan competition organised by the England Team sponsor Vauxhall.

As a surprise on the day the two teams, who were captained by former Premier League stars Ray Parlour and Steve Claridge, also found out that England interim manager Stuart Pearce would be managing one of the teams.

The Big Pitch experience was organised by Vauxhall to offer England fans a dream day to play at Wembley as part of their sponsorship of the FA.

Chris said: “Winning the chance to play at Wembley was amazing but to actually run out on to the hallowed turf and play in front of Stuart Pearce is just unbelievable. It was one of those moments in life where you have to pinch yourself to check it wasn’t a dream but it was true I was really there at the home of football playing in the game of a lifetime.”

Former England international and Manchester United player Ray Wilkins, who was Stuart Pearce’s opposing manager, said: “It was a superb day at Wembley and a fantastic initiative by Vauxhall to offer England fans the chance to experience life as an England player at Wembley. 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 this day for the rest of their lives.”

The players, who were from across the UK, took part in the national competition run by Vauxhall on its England Football Facebook page.

Vauxhall marketing director Peter Hope said: “Following the success of The Big Pitch in 2011 and the feedback from the fans involved we decided very quickly to run the competition again in 2012. Football is all about the fans and this is a unique opportunity for fans to fulfil their childhood dreams.”

For more details go to www.facebook.com/VauxhallEngland.