Young Shaker Paul Mason recalls his Wembley FA Cup Weekend
Back in January, ahead of our FA Cup tie against Hull City, we asked our young fans (aged 7-10) to write in to us and tell us why they are Bury's biggest junior fan to be in with a chance of winning a once in a lifetime opportunity of walking out onto the Wembley pitch during an FA Cup semi-final match.
After trawling through the entries the winner was 10-year-old Paul Mason, who has been a season ticket holder for 5-years and has been to 16 away grounds on his travels with the Shakers.
On Saturday, Paul took to the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium as a player escort to Chris Smalling in the Everton v Manchester United semi-final.
Here is Paul’s own written account of his day out at Wembley:
I set off from Brandlesholme with my Dad and my Brother Matthew at 9 o'clock and we picked up my Grandad Les from his house.
There were a lot of Everton fans on the motorway and even the services was jam packed with Everton fans. It felt weird seeing more Everton fans than Man United.
When we got onto the main road to Wembley it took us about 50 minutes to even get into the car park.
It took us over 5 hours to get to Wembley due to the traffic and my dad was panicking because he had to drop me off with the FA at 14.15.
My dad handed me over to the FA staff just on time. The staff who were looking after me were Raj and Wayne.
I met a lot of other football maniacs, most of them supported their home town teams. One of the other mascots supported Chesterfield and when I mentioned that I supported Bury he said he watched a game against us.
The FA staff gave me a packed lunch, a free kit and a programme and my Dad, Granddad and Brother Matthew all got a ticket for the game. I enjoyed the food, but the programme was not as good as ours at Bury.
We put on our kit and boots and I was very interested in listening to what Louis van Gaal was saying when I saw him getting interviewed on camera before the match.
Before we walked out with the players we had 3 rehearsals (1) before the fans were allowed to come into the stadium (2) as the players were getting changed (3) just before the match.
When I walked out with the players, I went with Manchester United's Chris Smalling.
When we walked out into the stadium the atmosphere was incredible and just like when we got promoted at Tranmere!
After the players did their handshakes, it was a bit embarrassing when the mascots ran the wrong way onto the pitch and Wayne Rooney had to tell us which way to go to get back to the FA staff (I think we could have done with another rehearsal)!
The FA staff who were looking after us then returned me to the seats were my Dad, Brother and Granddad were sitting and we watched the rest of the match.
Manchester United took the lead with Fellaini scoring in the first half.
Everton were awarded a penalty in the second half but Man United's David De Gea made a brilliant save from a very powerful shot.
Everton eventually got an equalizer through a Chris Smalling own goal (I think I might have jinxed him). Everton were the better team in the second half and they thoroughly deserved to equalize.
But with a few seconds remaining Manchester United's Anthony Martial scored the winner and that put a lot of smiles on United fans faces.
The atmosphere at the ground was amazing. I also learnt a lot of songs on the day and the attendance was massive and over 86,000 fans.
When we was coming home there was a lot of Manchester United fans at the motorway service station. It took us six hours to come home because the traffic was crazy and it took over two hours just to get out off the car park at Wembley.
That was the end of my Wembley experience.
I hope that next season it might be Bury that I am watching in the play-off final at Wembley.
Thank you for my prize!
UTS from Paul.