Ashton Park School has enjoyed working with Bristol City Community Trust on a range of exciting programmes and events. We were delighted when we were given the opportunity for our Year 11 boys to play a five aside match at Ashton Gate during the break between City and Hull.
We could easily have sold places on either of the teams as the boys were offered the chance to play in front of their Idols. Thanks to the generosity of Bristol City Community Trust we were able to pass on free tickets to family and friends of those involved.
We met by the city shop prior to the start of the match and many of the boys were nervous even at that point. Dads accompanied many and there was even a proud grandfather amongst the support. We took our places in the Ateyo community stand and watched the match. Vicky (BCFC Football Development Officer) explained to the boys that they would be on for about 7 minutes and that they weren’t to go sliding into tackles etc. I was as excited as the boys to be stepping onto the hallowed turf of Ashton gate as official team photographer!
With minutes to go before half time the boys assembled near the gate to the pitch all wearing new Ashton Park Sports College kit and certainly looking the part. I explained the importance and significance of their match. As I told them, for many supporters this would be the best football they would have seen all season!
The boys all took their places on the pitch and the next seven minutes must have felt like 7 seconds as the boys played out their match in front of a full Ateyo stand. Fans were indeed treated to some excellent football and 9 goals to boot! Each goal was greeted by cheers from the crowd and the boys did say after that they felt like real stars. Our dream ended with a group photo on the pitch. We still like to think that Brett Pitman got inspiration for his equaliser having stood watching the boys at half time.
The serious side to this whole event was that we were able to reward and motivate a group of boys who we hope will go on to work hard and improve their GCSE grades in the coming year. A fabulous day was had by all especially the lifelong city fan that got on the pitch at half time with his camera.