independent

Friday 25 April 2014

Ben meets his Arsenal soccer heroes

13-YEAR-OLD'S DREAM TRIP

A 13-YEAR- OLD from Wexford is the envy of Arsenal fans after a dream trip to meet the manager and players of the famous London club.

Ben Creane from St Aidan's Crescent went on the trip of a lifetime recently as he travelled over to London to the Emirates Stadium to meet some of his Arsenal heroes. Ben has always been a massive Arsenal fan since it was passed down from his mother, Charlotte and his grandfather before her, and it was through his membership of the 'Junior Gunners' that he managed to win the once in a lifetime opportunity to come face to face with some of Arsenal's finest footballers.

'Ben would regularly enter competitions through the Junior Gunners,' mother, Charlotte said. ' This time the competition was for a 'festive fun day' and he was lucky enough to pick. He was absolutely delighted.'

As part of his prize, Ben attended a morning training session where, along with the other prize-winners, he cheered the players on. Their efforts didn't go unnoticed and at the end of the session, manager Arsene Wenger came over and thanked them for their support. After lunch, the 'junior gunners' were brought to the state of the art games room where they got photos and autographs from the players and even took them on at a number of games. The likes of strikers Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud took keenly contested games of FIFA 13, while players like Santi Carzola, Kieran Gibbs and Tomas Rosicky were also on hand to provide tips as the youngsters honed their skills in a series of urban football challenges, culminating in a penalty shootout. As a defender himself Ben will have paid extra attention to the likes of Thomas Vermaelen and Gibbs hoping to improve his own game.

This wasn't Ben's first visit to the Emirates either. Last year he was one of 400 young fans to enjoy a camp-out on the pitch at the world class stadium and even managed to play a bit of football where his heroes play every week. 'He's very lucky in that he's been to places that nobody else gets to go and that any Arsenal fan would love to see.' said mother, Charlotte.

Striker Olivier Giroud, who Ben managed to meet during the day, said: 'It was really good fun to meet Ben and the other young supporters at the Junior Gunners New Year's Party. I must give special praise to Ben for coming such a long way to take part in the event – we are very lucky to have such fantastic supporters.'

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