Stefan Haynes-Jones is the heartbeat of the United defence, but like most of us he dreams of wearing the sky blue of Manchester City and taking to the field on a Premier League match day.
Unlike most of us, 10-year old Stefan has done just that, after winning a Manchester City Junior Cityzens competition to be the club’s official mascot, away to Arsenal earlier this month.
He swapped his usual role as the centre back for Redditch United Juniors U-11s, for an early train from Worcestershire to London… and the best day of his young life.
A season ticket holder at the Etihad, Stefan is no stranger to Manchester City fans…he appeared in the City programme at the grand old age of just 4-days back in 2004.
Having arrived at The Emirates at 10.30am, well ahead of the 12.45pm kick-off, Stefan’s first inter-action with Manuel Pellegrini’s champions was to ‘high five’ The Engineer and his squad, before meeting the players in the dressing room for photos and pre-match chats.
Not only was he given his official sky blue kit to wear on the pitch, he was also presented with a shirt signed by all the players and MP himself.
Stefan said: “Going into the changing room and feeling as if I was part of the team preparing for kick off was unbelievable. I felt such pride wearing the shirt and walking out with Vincent Kompany – my City hero.”
As well as featuring in the Arsenal programme, Stefan also appeared on the massive electronic screens when he was interviewed with his Arsenal counterpart, Junior Gooner, Alfie.
The local Redditch press have run stories on Stefan’s special day and nobody could be prouder than Dad, Neil, a lifelong Blue.
“There’s been so many memorable moments in City’s history since Stefan was born, the 6-1 at Old Trafford, the Aguerrrroooo moment, James Milner’s winner in Munich but, speaking as a Dad, seeing Stefan with Vinnie tops the lot.
“To see my boy with City’s finest is something I will never forget”, said Neil.
After taking part in the warm up, witnessing the coin toss and exchanging club pennants with Alfie, it was back to real life for Stefan as he and his Dad took their seats in the away section, to cheer City to a more than deserved 2-2 draw.
It just remains for Stefan to progress as a very promising young defender and hope to one day emulate Captain Kompany and be City’s Minister of Defence!
By David Walker
Written on behalf of my friend Neil Haynes-Jones & young Stefan and scheduled for use on Manchester City’s Junior Cityzens website.
www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu