Fans of Arsenal Football Club had the chance to play on the hallowed ground of their favourite team in a new competition.
The Emirates Stadium played host to the inaugural Europcar Cup, a five-a-side tournament, which gave lucky fans the once in a lifetime chance to show their skills at the home of their footballing idols
The event was hosted by Europcar, the official car and van rental provider to Arsenal FC.
The tournament capped the end of a first full season’s partnership between Europcar and Arsenal, as the team representing the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Arsenal Supporters Club, captained by Ben Roberts, was crowned champions by Arsenal legend, Ray Parlour.
The former midfielder, and member of the club’s famous ‘Invincibles’ side, had been on hand throughout the day for team talks and a Q&A session with fans before presenting the trophy.
At the start of the day fans had the chance to prepare for the competition in the official Arsenal changing rooms.
Ken McCall, managing director of Europcar UK Group, said: “Today’s tournament was a great way to celebrate a fantastic year’s partnership with Arsenal. But, more importantly, it was an opportunity to give back to the people that really make the club such a special place - the supporters.”
There were eight teams competing including four fans teams – each selected through a competition on social media – plus the team from Arsenal’s Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Supporters Club, a team of bloggers, another comprising travel and sports journalists and another made up of Europcar’s suppliers.
Ben Roberts, from Hemel Hempstead, said: “Playing on the same pitch as my heroes was truly a unique experience, and one which I will never forget.” Fellow team members were Rob De Bell, Mark Kenneally, Craig Wiseman, Harry O’Riordan and Sam Rawlings.
Ben added: “Getting to share this experience with my friends and family has made the occasion even more special. I have been an Arsenal fan for many years and to be able to play, and win, on a football ground that is so special to me means the world. Meeting Ray, getting changed in
the official Arsenal changing rooms and then winning, has been an experience I will never forget.”