Saturday, 28 September 2013

AFCB mascot joy for Deklan Hill

I have always been pleased to offer up the chance for fellow AFCB supporters to come on Cherry Chimes and tell us something about the club if they have had a valuable experience or have something to share and I'm pleased to say today I can have a day off! Damien Hill, who sits next to me in the Family Stand (poor him) has finally given in to my demands and has kindly written the following piece on the day his son, Deklan, had as an AFCB mascot at a recent match. It should give those wondering how the day is organised a little more idea of the kind of time that their son or daughter will have as well as the proud parents. Here's Deklan's story told by his dad.

Wow, meeting the players in the changing room before the game.
Deklan and the other mascots fill their autograph books.
Deklan's day to remember
My son's birthday was in September and due to the international break there was no game on his birthday weekend, so we booked for him to be the mascot at the home game verses Blackpool. We booked as soon as the fixtures were released as we heard that places can quickly sell out and to make sure we got this fixture.

We are season ticket holders in the family stand, Deklan, Andy (nephew) and myself, and we enjoy going to the games. My wife (Nelia) wanted to come to the game as she had never seen our beloved AFCB play, so after a little persuasion of upgrading Andy's ticket, the wife was able to go.

We had a confirmation letter from the the club to be at the ground for 1 O'clock to meet at the players entrance, and as Nelia had never been before we arrived at the ground for 12:30 so she could meet all the players, as they arrived and to have a walk around the club shop, and to look at the wall of fame, behind the east stand (she actually new some of the faces on the wall to my surprise!). 

So with 1 O'clock fast approaching, we made our way back to the players entrance where we were greeted by an AFCB official and were told to wait inside the red barrier, which made Deklan feel very proud and important. Here we were told that Deklan and the other mascots would go inside the changing rooms to meet the players, and to get their autographs and pictures taken with their favourite player, this would take about 1/2 an hour, so the parents had time to get a coffee and a beer in the Legends Bar.

Deklan with Tommy Elphick.
When we returned to pick Deklan up, he had been given a goodie bag with a programme, pen and autograph book, of which he had filled with all of the players signatures. Not surprisingly, he had the biggest smile on his face that you could imagine. 

We were then told to come back at 2 O'clock and Deklan would go inside the stadium before being taken onto the pitch to play football. The it would be an even more exciting moment for him a bit  later when he would come out of the tunnel with the players before joining into the line up on the pitch and shaking hands with all the Blackpool players, just  moments before the kick-off. So at 2 O'clock we left him once again and made our way into the ground to watch the players warm up and to see Deklan have his kick around on the pitch.

Deklan and other mascots have a knock about before kick-off.
Deklan was having fun with all the other mascots and Cherry Bear playing football and then it was time to go into the tunnel, wait for music to start and to come out with the players. Nelia and I eagerly took to our seats and waited to see the teams come out. With the wife and crowd in full voice (taught her a few songs before we left home) the teams entered the field and Deklan lead the team out with Simon Francis, as Tommy was on the bench, mum had a little tear in here eye and one proud dad as pleased as punch stood happy cheering on. Deklan then had his photo taken with the captains, referee and other mascots and was then shown back to his seat with us to watch the game.

On to the pitch with Simon Francis leading the team out.
Deklan shakes hands with the Blackpool players.
All the mascots and Cherry Bear.

The referee, assistant referees and captains join in.
The result didn't go our way as we lost 1-2 but that didn't spoil our day and we all went home happy and wait eagerly for the Football League Show to see Deklan on the TV, leading out the team. A great day was had by all and it was a day Deklan will always remember. Thank you AFCB for the memory stick, full of pictures, that we received in the post and for a wonderful day.

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