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FOOTBALL-obsessed Dylan O’Shea’s dreams came true last weekend as he walked out to 90,000 fans at Wembley, alongside his heroes, as a mascot for Manchester United in the FA Cup final.
A Facebook competition, entered by Dylan’s dad, Ashley O’Shea, gave the football-mad 7-year-old a chance of a lifetime, to be a mascot for his favourite team in the FA Cup final. He also got the chance to meet the players backstage and have a private tour of the stadium.
“When Manchester United made it through to the semi-finals, I tried to get tickets everywhere for the final.” said Ashley O’Shea. “I really wanted to take Dylan. Then I saw this competition on Facebook, wrote a few bits about Dylan and a week before the final, I received a Facebook message saying we were successful! After a bit of research into whether it was actually legitimate, which it was, I was over the moon.”
Finding out the news whilst away from home at work, Ashley had a four-hour commute back home, building excitement and planning how he was going to tell his son that he was able to fulfill his dream of becoming a football mascot. Ashley said, “He went really quiet! I didn’t expect him to react like that. Just a few weeks before, he said ‘I want to be a mascot, Dad’, and I had to let him down and say that the chances were really slim. But, after telling him, it took a while for it to sink in but then once it did, he couldn’t shut up, he wanted to tell everyone!”
Dylan has a great knowledge when it comes to football players, both English and international, often getting friends and family to quiz him. He is also a keen player, playing in attacking positions for Melksham Town’s under 8s team.
The weekend came and Ashley and Dylan travelled to Wembley on Friday 18th May, staying at The Bailey Hotel in South Kensington before being transferred to the stadium on Saturday.
The day was spent with the other competition winners and an Emirates film crew as they followed the youngsters around, interviewing them about what was to come.
Ashley continued, “The parents weren’t allowed to go ‘backstage’ with the children, so from 2pm onwards, the next time I saw Dylan was when he was walking out on the pitch. I was slightly nervous, wondering if he was going to be okay. Three years ago, he wouldn’t leave mine or my wife’s side, so doing this was a huge deal for him.”
Dylan was lucky enough to be selected to walk onto the pitch with Manchester United player, Ander Herrera, and also stood near one of his favourite players, goalkeeper David de Gea.
“I had so many emotions as Dylan came out. As a huge United fan myself, I was just so glad to be there, but seeing Dylan just made me so proud.” said Ashley. “ I can’t believe he had the guts to walk out and stand there in front of 90,000 fans. It was a big thing for him to do and I’m just so proud.”