The following comes from Rob Bradley, coach of the Bromsgrove Sporting U12 Colts, who were mascots for our most recent Southern League Premier Central match, a home game versus Barwell.
The Colts got to meet the first team players, talk to them and walk out with them as the teams came out, as well as meet numerous club officials, the match officials for the day and enjoy a training session on the pitch, led by Under 18s Floodlit manager, Alan Horton.
Rob commented: “I would like to formally thank everyone at the club for their hospitality shown towards the U12 Colts at the home match versus Barwell.
“From the moment we arrived at the ground at 1pm, we were greeted by Maria (Murphy) and senior members of the club. The plan for the day was discussed and the boys were clearly very excited to be there and to get the chance to meet the players and first team staff.
“The boys were then introduced to Alan (Horton) who was absolutely superb with them, getting photos taken of the boys sitting on the dugout, asking players as they walked past to join in and have photos too, all of who were fantastic spending time to talk and joke with the boys.
“The lads were then given a 10-15 minute training session with Alan on the pitch; this I know was the highlight of their day getting to play on the pitch – they loved it.
“From there, Alan took them on a behind the scenes tour meeting senior club officials, the referee and representatives of Barwell. Again all of which were great with the lads, asking them questions and giving them an insight into all the work that is required by all of the staff to keep the club running.
“This was a real eye opener for the boys, who I don’t think had any prior understanding of what was involved and more importantly how professionally the club is run.
“Meeting the first team, Brendan (Kelly), Andy (Mason) and the other staff in the training room was brilliant for them. I have never seen them so quiet or in awe of something.
“At their age, they have not yet experienced what it is like being in a dressing room environment, seeing players having treatment before the match, seeing how confined the space is and the discipline of having clean boots etc.
“It was great to see them given the opportunity to soak this all up and give them an insight into what football is really like.
“When Alan alluded to the fact that if they continue to play and improve then they could play at the ground in a few years for the floodlight team and potentially the first team, this was when it really hit them that they are part of the same club and maybe one day they could be playing in front of children their age with their friends and family watching them. Something for them to aspire to.
“Walking out with the players was brilliant – they all had nice big smiles on their faces and were buzzing when they came off the pitch. Throughout the match there was lots of shouts of encouragement to the team and real enthusiasm.
“I would personally like to thank everyone that interacted with us during the day, with a special thank you to you for helping me to organise the day, the Board of Directors, Andy and with a special mention to Maria, Alan and of course to Brendan for letting us take up some of the teams precious time before the game.”