A Priceless Experience at Wembley
If you’re a regular reader of SuperLucky, you’ll know that our family are huge football fans – and footy related prizes are one of our favourites. Indeed, my Man of the Match moment with Kyle Walker at Euro 2016 and my husband running out onto the pitch with Robert Pires in the ‘Support your Hero’ event at the San Siro are high on my top prizes list!
Mastercard have been running their ‘Priceless Mascot’ competition for several years – and I’ll be honest, I was waiting for Arsenal to qualify before putting Ryland forward for it! But suddenly this season I realised he was fast approaching both the age limit AND the height limit for entry (plus I wasn’t feeling confident about Arsenal qualifying any time soon!) so thought I’d better get in there swiftly.
I decided to enter Ryland for the chance to be a mascot at the Tottenham Hotspur v FC Barcelona match, at Wembley Stadium, and a few days afterwards I got a phone call to tell me he’d been selected! We were super excited – but with a slight fear that he might walk out onto the pitch with a Spurs player. My husband Rob decided, as a lifelong Arsenal fan, he couldn’t risk being at Wembley to witness such a horror – so I decided to accompany Ry to the match after school. Only one parent can attend!
We dropped our children off at Wembley at 6pm, where parents were given their match tickets (I managed to lose mine – but that’s another story for another day!). One child was well over the height limit, and was turned away – a warning to parents who think they might get away with it! The children are taken away and given their special Champions League kit – then given a packed lunch to eat in a special dressing room. Ryland tells me they entertained each other with Fortnite dances.
All the parents made their way to their seats for fifteen minutes before kick off – and we eagerly watched the tunnel footage on the big screens. They showed the Spurs team first – there was no sign of Ry’s blonde hair so I knew we were safe! When it came to the Barcelona team Ry was lined up at the back, just in front of Countinho (he got a high five from him!) and walked out with Clement Lenglet, who had just joined Barca in the summer. He looked absolutely delighted (Ry, not Lenglet).
The children were brought to their seats a few minutes after kick off – unfortunately, they managed to miss the first Bacrelona goal which was scored in less than 2 minutes! Ry was super excited – telling me all about his new friends, and how nice it was that Lenglet kept his hands on his shoulders the whole time. We had to rush off at half time to ensure we caught our train back to Brighton, eventually arriving home at 11.30pm – a bit late for a school night, but what an experience for him! The match was a thriller, finishing 4-2 to Barca! The mascots kept their Mastercard kit, and were also given an ‘I was on the pitch’ t-shirt to remember the occasion.
So, if you have a child who’s aged 7, 8 or 9 and under 135cm in height then I urge you to enter this competition – even if your child isn’t a huge football fan, it’s a moment they’ll never forget and with the photographs you’ll have amazing mementos for them for when they grow up! In some ways, it’s better if they don’t support a certain team – the mascots are assigned to teams at random so you can’t guarantee being with your favourite.
How to enter
Head to https://uk.mastercard.com/ucl/ and check the entry form’s dropdown options regularly, as the matches change. The competition is currently open for the group stage matches in England – from September through to December. The teams this season are Spurs, Man City, Man Utd and Liverpool. Note that travel costs aren’t included as part of the prize for the group stage games – but if you check later in the season you might have the chance to go to the Final in May, which includes accommodation! You can only win one mascot prize during a season – but three of the parents I met at Wembley had won the same prize for their child last season too!
You must be over 18, a UK resident and a Mastercard holder. I wish you lots of luck if you go for this – and please share photos with me if your child gets lucky!