Attleborough man’s big day at Wembley

The last time Neil Davis was at Wembley he was dressed as a fluffy dog cheering on Wroxham FC from the sidelines in the FA Vase final.

Two years later the father-of-four fulfilled a life-long dream by making it onto the pitch and playing in a team managed by Ray Wilkins.

The Norwich City and Manchester United fan won a Facebook competition, which his wife had entered on his behalf, to play at the home of football.

This week he put on the number seven shirt in the Wembley changing rooms, received his pep talk, and ran down the tunnel.

'We came out and I had a tear in my eye,' he said. 'I touched the grass and we lined up to sing the national anthem. It was fantastic.

'When I walked into that changing room there was the number seven shirt, with the number seven peg with my name on it, and I started crying at that point.

'Every one of my heroes has been on that pitch and there are plenty of professional players who have never been on that pitch.'

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Neil played in central midfield alongside Steve Claridge, up against Ray Parlour and Radio Two DJ Chris Evans.

The factory worker's side beat a team managed by England caretaker manager, Stuart Pearce, 3-0.

The 41-year-old, who is from Attleborough and works in the Ultimet Films factory, said: 'We had an awesome day with some super ex-players. Everything about it was perfect.'

Neil hung up his boots last Septem-ber after playing for south Norfolk teams such as Shropham United, but polished them off for the game.

The match day was made as close to the real thing as possible with a press conference, commentary and big screens showing the game.

His wife Tina had entered the competition without telling him.

Contestants had to describe why they wanted to play at Wembley and his wife struck a chord with the organisers. Neil said: 'I spent three hours saying (to my wife) stop winding me up, because at no point did I believe it.'

tom.bristow@archant.co.uk

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