Holme Rovers at Wembley - 2nd August 2015 Community Shield.
We all knew we were lucky but I don't think we quite realised how amazing our visit to Wembley would be. It's going to take some time to absorb everything that happened on 2nd August.
We all met outside the village hall at 6.30am on Sunday to make sure we got the teams to Wembley for 11.30am, the bus from Acklams was superb and the two drivers made sure we all had a good journey. On the way to London we were all excited, but we could never have imagined what sort of day was ahead.
As soon as we all saw the Wembley arch the excitement began, the stadium really is impressive, inside and out. The players and coaches all needed to be in the stadium as soon as we arrived. They were whisked to the main entrance, through a security check and all given a wristband. The Chairman of Holme Rovers, Richard Brook, joined two coaches Bradley Delves and Alec Budd, alongside Mike O'Reilly from Mcdonalds in Shiptonthorpe accompanying the U9s and U10s teams into the stadium. Once inside they got briefed on the day, had pictures taken, a rehearsal of the pitch parade, a football quiz and waited in the press conference area. Madison Whilsemith, an Holme Rovers U10s player also went into the stadium early. Maddie won a McDonald's competition to be a Chelsea player escort.
The parents and Holme Rovers committee members, Paul and Karen Harrison, Avril Brook, Mike and Angela Wright all took to their seats with cameras at the ready!
The build up to the beginning of the game was amazing, the atmosphere inside the stadium was electric. Then over the Wembley tannoy the grassroot teams were announced and welcomed into the stadium. Holme Rovers was announced and our section came alive with pride. Bradley Delves led the club out holding a Holme Rovers placard with the Holme Rovers logo on, held high, the teams following, each waving a community shield flag. All of them were taking in every detail and enjoying their moment. Once the teams had walked the first side of the pitch Jess Glynne began to sing "hold my hand", from a stage that was on the pitch. Once the music began, fireworks and pyrotechnics began to go off it time with the music. Huge Chelsea and Arsenal club logos were lifted into the sky and two huge flags that had been rolled out by the armed forces were in full view on the pitch. All this going on and Holme Rovers are right there in the middle of it all, walking round the pitch. It was amazing. I was so proud. Two of my boys, Oliver Wallace, 9 and Joe Wallace, 8 were involved in the pitch parade and looking from my seat at Wembley I knew they would never forget these moments. All 60 of us that travelled to Wembley will remember that day forever.
The teams disappeared out of the stadium with cheers and everyone clapping and were escorted to seats in the stadium to join the rest of us so we could watch the game. Then it was time for Maddison's moment! She came out of the Wembley tunnel holding the Chelsea star Branislav Ivanovics hand, with a loud Wembley crowd welcoming all the players onto the pitch. What a moment for Maddie! She seemed to take it all in her stride and clearly enjoyed every moment. She also got to keep the new Chelsea kit too!
The match was good, Arsenal winning 1-0 and lifting the community shield. All the kids were still hugely excited when walking out of the stadium and back to the bus. My helper, Will Gant, aged 8, helped me check everyone back on the bus and the majority of the journey home was filled with chants and lots of excitement. The grown ups had no chance of sleep! Arriving safely back in the village at 10.30pm. Before leaving the bus I shared a few messages I had received from the FA contact at Wembley stadium and from Mike O'Reilly at Mcdonalds who both thanked the children from Holme Rovers for sharing the day with them and for being so well behaved. They did Holme Rovers and Holme Upon Spalding Moor proud. Well done kids!