It was a day to remember for Wembley goal-scorer Ollie Wilde last month at the Utilita Kids Cup Final.
The 10-year-old, who attends Sacred Heart Primary School, representing Luton Town in the Final, saw his name in lights at the home of football as the young Hatters saw off Sheffield United, represented by Nether Green Junior School 2-0 to lift the trophy.
Ollie opened the scoring inside the first two minutes, but it meant so much more to him. Unbeknown to all those watching on, he had made a promise to a family member beforehand.
His grandad had been taken ill prior to the game, which was staged before the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final, and what started as a difficult seven days ended in a dream day out in the capital.
“The plan was for his grandad Pete to come to the game and watch because being at Wembley, not many kids get the opportunity to play at Wembley,” his dad Matt explained.
“Unfortunately, about two weeks before, he was rushed to hospital with blood clots in his legs. Ollie was quite upset as he would be. Fast forward seven days later to the Tuesday before the game and he actually had a heart attack in hospital in the morning. Miraculously, they revived him and unbelievably, by two o’clock, he was all with it. It was a very traumatic event and a mad six hours.”
Having feared the worst, Ollie, who is on the books of Luton Town’s Academy at Under-11s level, travelled down to the National Stadium, but not before his grandad made one ask of him.
“Ollie kept saying he wanted his grandad to be there, and we kept saying it wasn’t possible,” Matt added. “The last time they spoke before the game on the Saturday morning, he told him he wouldn’t be able to make it but to do him proud and score him a goal. It made him a bit nervous, and he was saying, ‘I’ve really got to score for grandad, haven’t I?’”
In the first opening of the game, he picked up the ball out on the left flank and, without a moment’s hesitation, took aim from distance.
But what was perhaps more impressive was the acrobatic celebration he capped it off with.
“Since he’s played football, he’s always done a cartwheel when he’s scored but as he’s getting a bit older, he thinks it’s a bit baby-ish,” Matt continued. “He only brings out the cartwheel now if he’s pushed, but his grandad said, ‘if you score a goal, you’ve got to do the cartwheel for me as well.’
“Unbelievably, he scored within the first minutes and it was a really good goal. As he scored, he did the cartwheel in front of where we watching.”
He collapsed in tears at the full-time whistle as his team-mates gathered around him for support.
“He told his friend Harry – who was on the pitch consoling him – that his grandad was ill, and he needed to score a goal for him,” Matt said. “There was a moment where the final whistle went and he breaks down and hits the ground and starts crying.
“On the way home, I got him to ring his grandad to let him know that not only did he win but he scored a goal for him. He had a really rough week but it had a positive end.”