A football fan won the chance of a lifetime last week and got to experience what life is really like as an England footballer.
Nick Lindsey, from Thomas Street, Wellingborough, won the opportunity to train at the new England team Headquarters at St George’s Park and run out at Wembley as part of an England fan competition organised by the England Team sponsor Vauxhall.
The 30 winners all met at the National Football Centre in Burton for the first time for a two day experience and were treated to a day in the life of an England player ahead of a big game, including a coaching session from current England coach and former right back Gary Neville.
After an intense training session the winners had time to recover in the state of the art facilities at St George’s Park, sampling the hydrotherapy pool as well as staying at the England team hotel.
Following a good night’s sleep the players travelled to Wembley in the England team bus to play in the game of their lives on the hallowed turf.
As a surprise on the day the two teams, who were captained by former Premier League stars Graeme Le Saux and Steve Claridge, also found out that they would be managed by England legends Stuart Pearce and Ray Wilkins in a game refereed by World Cup final referee Howard Webb.
The Big Pitch experience was organised by Vauxhall who wanted to offer fans an insight into life inside the England camps as part of their sponsorship of the England team.
Nick said: “The last two days have been a dream come true and an unbelievable experience.
“We have 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.”
England Under 21 manager, Stuart Pearce, said: “The players have been fantastic and this initiative by Vauxhall to offer England fans the chance to experience life as an England player is truly unique.
“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, had taken part in a national competition run by Vauxhall across a number of platforms including their dedicated football website.
Vauxhall Head of Sponsorship, Chris Hornbuckle, commented; “This is the third year of our Big Pitch competition and 2013 has been the best yet.
“To fulfil the childhood dreams of England fans is something we are very proud of and we are planning more competitions and activities to bring the fans closer to the England team.”
For more information go to www.vauxhallfootball.co.uk