Age isn’t an active factor involved in being a football supporter. In fact, the fervour increases the older you get.
The longer you support, the more heroes that occupy that pedestal in your mind as you can recollect players who have performed heroics whilst wearing the crest you so passionately adore. Years and years worth of memories dedicated to halcyon times which were inspired by titans of the club.
The word ‘legend has been bandied around so liberally that it has lost much of its impact, but it is still the most succinct word to describe the men who will forever live on at your club of choice. Legends are not exclusive to the top-flight either, as no matter which club you side with, there are names that will permanently be synonymous with your admiration.
As kids, we dreamed of pulling on the shirt and lining up alongside our legends. Standing in the centre circle just before commencing kickoff, you look around the stands of the stadium you have sat in a plethora of times. You try and remember the moment before it ends. It is the quintessential young fan’s happy place, and we have all been there.
After a few decades of the demands of life suck the vigour from you unapologetically however, the childlike wonder with which you once viewed the game isn’t lost, but gets unceremoniously pushed to the back of your mind. The cynic in you soaks in the negativity surrounding the game – the prima-donnas, the simulation, the swollen rivers of cash – and the game you have loved since you were young takes on a different slant.
Despite this though, if you were offered the chance to play alongside the men who represent a golden age for your club, you would drop everything to do it. To actually live out your dream? To play alongside YOUR legend?
This isn’t mere hyperbole, an article designed to induce tears of nostalgia. There is a company who specialise in this very thing, and they were recently in the spotlight, as the 25 year anniversary of the very first Premier League goal scored was celebrated. The scorer, a certain Brian Deane.
Deane will forever have a place in the annals of sporting history, as the first ever goalscorer in the watershed that is the Premier League. Some things get written in chalk, some are indelibly etched into the foundations – Brian Deane is the supreme question of Premier League quizzes around the globe.
Now enjoying the spoils of a career forged in the heat of the top-flight, Deane is the latest name fans can play alongside thanks to Play With A Legend. A group can line up a match and have one of the luminaries of their supported club on the pitch alongside them. The prospect is mouthwatering for any fan.
Speaking on behalf of Play With A Legend, Deane said;
” It always feels good to be back at Bramall Lane. There’s some really good memories here,” says Brian. “Even when it wasn’t me who was the significant player, we were a very good team unit at times, so it was always good, the fans were always good, they got excited and it was a great place, a fun place.”
‘If I’m honest the actual day is a bit of the blur but watching the goal brings everything back. It was particularly sweet to score after four minutes. At the time, I didn’t really think anything of it. But when I stopped playing people gave me recognition. It is really nice to have something like that which nobody can take away.’
His opening strike against Manchester United is one of the best memories, but he remembers his second goal on the day – the penalty – more clearly. “I had more time to think about what I was going to do, and then I ended up sending the goalie the wrong way.
The Premier League that Deane stepped into in 1992 seems a far cry from the Premier League that we know today. In 1992, Deane recollects that most clubs had got a new kit for the season, a move that was quite significant as the clubs looked to cash in on this time in their history. Sheffield United stepped out in an Umbro shirt with laces that Deane recalls being “quite iconic, but not the sort of shirt you’d want to wear nowadays because it was quite heavy!”
Play With A Legend is genius, and an idea that should have come to fruition a long time ago. It is an idea that everyone has had, but no-one has made tangible. Any business idea is destined for success when it enables dreams to come true.
Who wouldn’t want to not only meet their heroes, but play football with them and perhaps a drink afterwards? Play With A Legend makes it so.
Brian Deane was back at Bramall Lane on behalf of Play With a Legend, an events company which gives fans the chance to play alongside over 100 former footballers. Visit https://www.playwithalegend.com/ for more information