A trip to the football to watch your favourite team is a treat for any youngster – but Joe Crane will be living the dream when he gets to run out on to the pitch with his heroes.

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The 10-year-old from Dereham is a lifelong Everton fan and when the Toffees take on Norwich City on Saturday, February 23 at Carrow Road, Joe will be lining up alongside the likes of Phil Neville and Marouane Fellaini as the team mascot.

Dad Simon said it would be a “once- in-a-lifetime opportunity” for his son who cannot wait for the date to come round.

“He was dancing round the kitchen,” he said.

Mr Crane explained that Joe had been a junior member of the club for years and had been Everton through and through since his friend Brian Cuddihy, of Dereham barber shop Dads & Lads, gave Joe his first True Blue shirt aged three.

“I support Tranmere Rovers but Brian supported Everton and he got to Joe first,” he said.

“We got an email out of the blue last week asking if he was interested in being the mascot. I suppose they looked at his postcode and realised he lived near Norwich. Of course, we said ‘yes’.

“All we have had to do is buy some match tickets.”

Joe, who goes to Toftwood Junior School, has been asked to be at the ground at 1pm where he will get into his kit, which is also being provided by Everton FC, have a tour around the facilities and then will be able to go pitchside for the warm-up. He will be able to spend around 20 minutes with the team before they line up and go out on to the pitch where he will be introduced to the crowd.

Joe said it would be a long couple of weeks until match day.

“I can’t believe it,” he said. “I’ll be walking on to the pitch next to my hero Phil Neville. It’s a dream come true, it’s amazing. I went to the same game last year and it was brilliant. Both teams play good football, but Everton are better. We’ll win 2-1, or draw 1-1.

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