To actually hear Steve McMahon say to me, “You’re my star man”, sent shivers down my spine. I never realised how much I could feel as though I knew someone so well through the media. When I met Steve for the first time, it was like I’ve known him for years.
‘Million Dollar Feet’ was a tournament for boys and girls between the ages of eleven to fourteen. It was to create a chance for the young generation of football enthusiast to make it ‘Big Time’.
Now where do I fit in all this? Well, usually before a ‘final showdown’ there is an opening ceremony of some sort, in this case there was a ‘Celebrity Football Match’ that allowed two lucky students from BAC and IACT College to be a part of through an online slogan competition. Not expecting to win, I casually took part in the competition and the rest as they was history.
October 23rd, 2016 was to be the day I would see faces I had only known through the media. Excited, I was told to be at the Royal Selangor Club by 1.30pm but I arrived an hour early. As I walked through the place with time to spare, I recognized several faces and to my disbelief they appeared exactly the same apart from Steve and Patrick the commentator / pundit from Astro Super Sport who were looking rather pinkish under the sun. Kicking things off with his usual swagger as a host, Patrick welcomed the guest of honours to give their individual speeches. Saving the best for last, Steve came up and said something I will never forget, “I wasn’t the best of players, I made myself a player”.
With the sun shining brighter, everyone gathered around the pitch to catch the celebrities in action and I was fortunate to join them. Of course I wasn’t a celebrity or anyone notable for that matter, but by the end of the game I certainly felt like one. With only thirty minutes to do what I do best, I knew I had to make my presence felt and with that in mind I seized on every opportunity that came my way firing five shots with two of them hitting the back of the net.
By the end of the first half, Steve gathered us in a huddle and singled me out as his team’s star man. I could hardly believe what I heard but as I look back at all the years spent sitting in front of the television watching him and the rest of the football pundits on show, I know I’ve realised a dream.