Sunday, 7 October 2012

Perfect Day

Yesterdays match against Sunderland was extra special for me as my 6 year old son Lucas won the right to be mascot.  Getting the call Wednesday lunchtime and receiving the letter and our tickets was a huge buzz for Lucas and my wife and me.  We already knew we would have been getting up early as it was a 12:45 kick off but to allow for a tour etc.. we had to be at the Etihad for 9:15am.  I was a little worried Lucas does have ADHD and there was a risk he might be over stimulated by what was going to happen.

We arrived a little after 9 and were directed to the back of the City @ home building to await Liz Douglas who looks after the mascots.  After a quick drink and chat with the other mascot Marcus's family it was over to the stadium to begin the tour.  Using the players lounge as our base we were shown the home dressing room where the kits were already neatly laid out.   I could see the excitement in Lucas being in there before the players made the reality of the magic day that lay ahead begin to sink in.  I even managed to have a chat with legendary kit man Les "Chappy" Chapman.

From there it was the warm down area where after some impressive press ups and forward rolls Lucas was allowed to "make a sub" using the boards you see the 4th official use.  Excitement building it was then up the tunnel and pitch side via posing at the Match of the day interview position,  where the kids (ok and the adults) got to sit in the dugout and even have pictures and a chat with club ambassador and former player Mike Summerbee. 

Back to the players lounge for some light refreshments in the shape of some delicious mini burgers and hot dogs, and both Marcus and Lucas were given their kits to wear to run out onto the pitch.  Lucas was bouncing as I was changing him he was really getting excited he was delighted he had been given a goalkeeper kit and looked really smart.  Once back in the players lounge we met up with the Sunderland mascot and the girls who were player escorts for the day.

Just before the players arrived we were wisked up stairs to meet them and for them to sign the tops of Lucas and Marcus.  Both boys were full of beans and energy as soon as the laid eyes on Roberto Mancini and the players both went silent and stood still allowing the players chance to sign their tops whilst staring transfixed at their heroes.

Then it was back to pick up the rest and head near the family stand for some pitch side photos with Moonchester and Moonbeam. Lucas was surprised we didn't see Moonchester and Moonbeams Rocket Ship but was informed by security it was parked on the roof with it's cloaking device on.  After the pictures a big test for Lucas, Angela and Connor were taken to their seats and he didn't bat an eyelid at the thought of his mum going.  He was taken to the tunnel whilst the other parents and myself were taken to a vantage point above the tunnel.  I was praying he was behaving himself and looking at tunnel cam I  shouldn't have been worried though you can hear some classic Lucas comments,  a gap in the players coming off was greeted by "there's more there's more there's more more more"  a hot Sunderland player "uuurrrggghh he got his sweat on me!"  Then it was time the teams marched out and Lucas did the fairplay hand shake with the entire Sunderland team then ran towards the family stand and not that i'm jealous (much) scored against Joe Hart.

Then off he and the mascots ran and the match kicked off.

 We met the kids back in the players lounge and were being escorted to our seats when a huge cheer!  We'd missed the first goal!  Managing to catch a glimpse on the big screen it was a cracking free kick from Aleks Kolarov.  Getting to our seats we were able to enjoy the rest of the game as City ran out comfortable 3-0 winners. 

Missing the goal was the only negative it was a fabulous day for us as a family and especially Lucas.  Liz and the other City staff were fantastic and are a credit to the club deep, heart felt thanks to them for making my little boys big day so special and making us feel welcome.  We will have many fond memories of yesterday for years to come and of course Lucas has his signed Goal Keeper shirt as a memento as well as many photos and the videos both ours and the clubs tunnel cam.  I really shouldn't have worried Lucas was a star!