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Paul Weller Catches Youth Football Match In Bristol


Paul Weller Turns Up To Bristol Football Match
Story Posted: Tuesday, September 22, 2009, 07:00


The players may have had no idea who he was but when the man in the shades and parka arrived their parents found it hard to concentrate on the game.

Rock star Paul Weller, 51, caused a sensation when he turned up to watch a boys' football match in Longwell Green on Sunday.

The former frontman of The Jam and The Style Council, now a long-established solo artist nicknamed "the Modfather" by fans, was on the sidelines for an under-9s clash between Longwell Green Sports and Coalpit Heath FC.

He was there with his girlfriend, singer Hannah Andrews, 23, to see Hannah's eight-year-old brother Jake play for the away side.

Weller's presence obviously inspired Jake, of Yate, and his team- mates, who ran out 8-2 winners.

But for parents who grew up listening to his music the scoreline became irrelevant as they waited for an autograph or a photo with one of their heroes.

Lee Evans, 40, of Shellards Road, Longwell Green, is one of the managers of the Longwell Green team. He said: "I didn't even know what the score was, I was so starstruck.

"He's an absolute legend in my eyes and a cool dude. He still had his green parka and a pair of shades.

"The kids were probably thinking 'who the hell's that?'"

Parent and self-confessed die-hard fan Mike Henry, 42, of Willsbridge Hill, Willsbridge, made it back from a wedding in time to meet his idol.

He said: "There's probably as much chance of spacemen landing in Longwell Green as Paul Weller showing up. It's one of those amazing moments.

"I've been a massive fan ever since I was a kid. He's the absolute Modfather and was looking as tall as you like. He told my son how he'd started guitar when he was 12 and to keep playing."

Mr Henry has also brought up his children, eight-year-old twins Jasmine and Max – who plays in the football team – and five-year-old Angus, to love Weller's music. "They won't get into the car unless Paul Weller is playing!" he said.

Mr Henry's wife, Mandy, 41, said that on meeting Weller Max said: "I could have fainted. He's my hero."

Captain of the Longwell Green Sports First team, Ryan Gardner, 25, of London Road, Warmley, said: "I was watching the kids but left the game to try to find him. He walked around the pitch kissing and cuddling his girlfriend."

Mr Gardner said on match days his team listen to Weller's music in the changing rooms before a game and on the coach.

They were listening to his greatest hits before their FA Carlsberg Vase, second-round away match against Alton Town on Saturday and Mr Gardner said Weller's music "spurred them on" to a 2-0 win.

Coalpit Heath manager Mark Fletcher, 46, of Frampton Cotterell, said he was only given 20 minutes' notice that Weller was coming to watch Jake play.

He said the youngster had already given Weller a hand by playing tambourine at one of his concerts.

From This Is Bristol

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