Anfield of dreams

AT 45 years of age and with his football career a distant memory, it was going to take something very special for former Ballymoney United player Paul McFeeley to pull the boots on again.

Monday, 17th May 2010, 12:45 pm
Updated Monday, 24th May 2010, 5:30 pm

So when Paul now living in Liverpool saw a competition on the Liverpool FC website with the chance to play at Anfield, he dreamt of a comeback.

To his amazement he became one of the winners.

The prize included bringing a guest to play alongside him, so he called his nephew and fellow red Ally Walker from Dervock to ask if he fancied coming over to play.

Unfortunately Ally couldnt make the trip so Paul's partner's son James joined him out on the hallowed turf.

The following day Paul saw a similar competition in the local newspaper and rang his nephew to tell him he could enter online if he wanted another chance.

Ally entered and unbelieveably an email arrived confirming him as a winner as well!

So completing a unique family double within the space of six days, both Paul and nephew Ally had taken to the field at their beloved Anfield.

In another remarkable coincidence both men also got to captain their respective teams as well!

As an added bonus for Ally he got play in a team coached by former Liverpool legend Phil Neal and against a team managed by former club captain Phil Thompson.

Paul’s team ran out winners on a penalty shootout after a 3-3 draw while Ally’s side went down 5-2 but that didn’t spoil his day.

"As a huge Reds fan to play at Anfield was a fantastic experience, a dream come true,” Paul told Times Sport.

“Changing where so many great players had passed through, while Phil Neal gave a team talk was surreal and walking up the tunnel and touching the famous This Is Anfield sign had the hairs standing on my neck," said Ally.

After the poor season Liverpool have just had and with money tight maybe Rafa Benitez or whoever may be in charge may look to have both men on board for next season?

"Stanley Matthews played until he was fifty, and im a free agent so if the money was right id have to consider it, as for Ally, I’m sure Dervock wouldn’t be too hard to deal with,” laughed Paul.

“Maybe a pre-season game with Torres, Gerrard, etc coming to Paddy's Park could seal the deal.

“All joking aside it’s back into retirement for me. To say I played my last ever game at Anfield captaining the winning team, that will do for me!"

Both men were treated with after match food and drinks and photographers were on hand all day to capture images which were sent on as mementos of their day.

"Thommo and Neal were absolute gents happy to chat to you, sign autographs, pose for photos whatever, certainly something I will never forget.

“I wont be retiring just yet i have a few more years in me but I will probably retire my Anfield boots. It just wouldn’t be the same wearing them anywhere else" added Ally.