YOUNG footballers received a surprise when the FA Cup came to their training ground.
Members of the Gosport Borough Youth Football Club’s Under-11 Tigers team arrived for what they thought would be a normal training session, only to find that they had won a national competition and would be hosting the trophy at their training ground Privett Park.
Manager of the team Aaron Haggard entered the Tigers into the contest, organised by The Sun newspaper, after seeing the boys make huge strides in their game over the last two years.
He said: ‘It was brilliant, the boys loved it.
‘We kept it a secret from the boys. They were told that they were going to be training.
‘When we first told them it was the quietest I had ever seen them.’
Since taking over as manager of the Tigers team in May 2013, Aaron, 31, has seen the boys, who were struggling prior to him coming on-board, develop their skills dramatically.
He added: ‘Back in June I saw the competition online. I submitted 200 words to explain why the team were worthy of winning a visit from the FA cup.
‘I explained the development of the boys over the last few years and how it has been very good and how the team narrowly missed out on promotion last year.
‘I received a phone call to say we had got down to the final 10 and that a final decision was going to be made.
‘I didn’t really expect to hear anything back but they called me back later that day to say we had been successful.’
Aaron and the team had been selected from thousands of applications.
After being able to hold the coveted trophy at the training ground, the team were taken on an open-top bus tour of Gosport with the cup on-board.
‘It’s just a once in a lifetime opportunity,’ added Aaron.
‘The whole point was to say thank you from myself, my assistant coach Kev, and the parents for the massive development we have seen in the last two years.’