It’s not every day that one of your football heroes comes a-knocking on your door. Chris Webber followed Middlesbrough FC star defender George Friend as he met ordinary fans in an attempt to improve season ticket sales.
BORO-MAD Archie Smith, just seven years old, was a bit overwhelmed when he came from school today (Wednesday, March 5).
There sitting in his living room was one George Friend, star player, chatting casually with his mum, dad and a room full of cameramen and reporters.
The footballer had spent the afternoon calling round on season ticket holders in the hope they’ll renew their season tickets for what he hopes will be a promotion season next year.
But young Archie, who plays at Middlesbrough Academy, and his big brother, Jack, 13, a player on Norton and Stockton Ancients youth team, it was all about the opportunity to hero worship.
The boys’ parents, Mark and Julie take the whole family to nearly every home came and sit in the family friendly North stand.
Archie, who attends St Patrick’s RC Primary, said his favourite player was Albert Adomah but diplomatically added that George Friend was also one of his best.
Jack, a midfielder, said he plucked up the courage to ask the star a question.
“I asked how it feels to be playing for them,” said the Our Lady and St Bede’s pupil. “And, of course, he said it was really good to be playing for our fans.”
Earlier George had called round on Bill Trewick, 60, at his Ingleby Barwick home. Mr Trewick, originally of Middlesbrough, has been going regularly for 50 years and his first match was a reserve game in 1962.
“They won 10-1 and I was hooked,” he explained to the footballer as the pair sat, chatting easily, in the conservatory.
“We’ve had some good times, it’s just we’re going through a quiet time now. It was a nice touch by the club to organise this.”
The footballer also called on 20-year-old fan Jack Stainsby of Coulby Newham who sites in the South Stand, the area that generates much of the Riverside Ground’s atmosphere. “It’s just unbelieveable he’s here,” he said.
Mr Friend , originally from Devon, said he loved meeting the fans. “It was all a bit bigger and better than I thought, I’ve had a great reception here on Teesside and I love it here,” he said.
Middlesbrough FC is hoping to sell more season tickets than the 10,500-or-so sold last year and the club has frozen its prices for the ninth successive year.
Adult ticket prices are priced from £370 to £525 for buyers before April 21 but prices will rise after that date. Find out more at mfc.co.uk