TWO pals who embarked on a mammoth charity bike ride from Emsworth to Russia were given a live television shoutout as England got their World Cup campaign underway last night.
Jamie Marriott and Mitchell Jones were ecstatic to learn they had been name-dropped by commentator Guy Mowbray – in the moments leading to Harry Kane’s 2-1 winner against Tunisia.
Aired live on BBC One from the Volgograd Arena, the recognition follows the pair’s 2,400-mile journey on two wheels through six countries.
They took the feat on in a bid to raise cash for Cancer Research’s Bobby Moore Fund, in memory of Mitchell’s former youth coach at Bosham FC, Brian Randall.
Reflecting on the attention they have received since they set off on May 25, the football fans said their phones have ‘exploded’ with excited messages from mates back home.
Mitchell, 24, said: ‘When we set off from Emsworth all those weeks ago we had no idea our journey would take off with both national and international media in the way that it has.
‘Representatives of Fifa met us when we were 30 miles from Volgograd to film the final leg of the journey, and I think it was that morning when it really sunk in the attention we were getting.
‘When we arrived at The Volgograd Arena and got off our bikes for the final time we were greeted by a flock of film crews from a mass of countries varying from Russia, to China to England.
‘The cherry on the icing was when Guy Mowbray gave Jamie and me a shout-out during BBC’s live match coverage right before Harry Kane nodded in a 91st-minute winner.’
The buzz surrounding Jamie and Mitchell’s story has not ended at a shoutout, however.
They have even appeared on Russia’s largest breakfast show – which has seen them stopped in the street by starstruck Russian football fans.
But all these things led to the most hotly-anticipated important moment – England’s debut match in Russia, last night.
Describing the scenes as he and Jamie watched the action unfold from the stands, Mitchell said: ‘The atmosphere was electric, especially after the final whistle. Nothing unites the country like a World Cup win.’