Salesbury pupils win shoot-out at Wembley
Pupils from Salesbury CE Primary School beat Norwich City captain Russell Martin and the rest of the Canaries squad up the Wembley steps after winning the Championship Kids’ Cup.
Before Cameron Jerome and Nathan Redmond had fired Alex Neil’s side in to the Premier League at the expense of Middlesbrough with a 2-0 win in the Championship play-off final, the Ribble Valley youngsters had already been to the Royal Box to claim their own silverware.
The school team, who played as Blackburn Rovers in the competition, beat Bournemouth FC 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out after the final had finished 0-0 after normal time.
They’d beaten teams representing Wigan Athletic, Sheffield Wednesday, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Derby County along the way to advance from the North of England finals held at Bolton Wanderers’ Academy.
It is the second time Salesbury’s school football team has graced the turf at Wembley.
They appeared in the English School Football Association competition in 2009 with Rovers youngster Scott Wharton in the starting line-up.
The defender’s younger brother, Adam, currently with Rovers’ Academy, featured in this year’s triumph.
Manager and PE teacher Stephen Bird, who guided his players to success from the sidelines at the national stadium, said: “I’m immensely proud of them all.
“It’s been a great season that’s contained its ups and downs and I’m really impressed with all of the boys.
“They had nerves of steel in the penalty shoot-out - they never gave up.”
Headteacher Clare Berryman, who was also at Wembley, said: “As a school we are proud of what the boys have achieved.”
And pupil Oliver Rawson added: “It’s a great feeling to score a penalty at Wembley and know that you’re the best Championship side in England at this level.
“All my family and friends were in the crowd and it was great having them all here. It was brilliant to be out on the pitch and experience the atmosphere.”