Only a small number of professional footballers – from the likes of John Terry, Joe Hart and Aaron Ramsey – have had the chance to climb the 107 steps to the Royal Box and lift the FA Cup trophy at Wembley Stadium since it opened in 2007.
But for brothers Matthew, 35, of Rickinghall and Daniel Fox, 33, of Wortham, that dream became a reality last month.
The Fox Brothers’ side, managed by Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier, defeated former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Darren Anderton’s men 1-0 in their once-in-a-lifetime experience. After the victory the winning side lifted the FA Cup and took home medals as a reminder of their day, while the players had full use of the changing facilities, kits were hung up in the dressing rooms, and all enjoyed a lunch in the Bobby Moore Club.
The chance to play on the famous turf arose after Matthew entered the England Supporters Club Play on the Pitch at Wembley Competition, with winners being allowed to bring along one guest to also play.
Matthew, who turns out for Rickinghall Veterans, recently returned to Suffolk after spending five years in Dubai, and works as an architect consultant.
“It was superb and a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” he said. “It was a bit daunting but it was fun, it was amazing really. They looked after us really well, I could have played all day.
“Matt Le Tissier was quite funny – he was saying he was a bit annoyed as he had not played at Wembley yet. It was great to have him as our manager.
“When you are looking around and there are 90,000 empty seats, it really is a big place.”
Daniel, a thatcher, who used to turn out for Redgrave, said it was a “surreal” experience.
“I’ve seen a few England games there but it’s quite a random experience actually walking out onto the pitch and it’s quite surreal,” he said. “I think it was an opportunity to do something that not many people get to do, including a lot of professional footballers.
“You can only imagine what it’s like on a matchday and it’s full. It is just weird. You can’t imagine playing for Liverpool or Arsenal or someone and winning the FA Cup with all of those people watching. It must just be bizarre.
“I didn’t dare lift it (the FA Cup) because it was close to the edge, so I just held the handles!”