West Brom stars stun schoolchildren with tournament appearance
Albion's first team surprised children from 11 local schools today as they tried their hand at management.
As part of the Premier League's Primary Stars initiative, each school team was given one or two players as coaches for a tournament at the club's academy facility near The Hawthorns on Halford's Lane.
After a quick training session, the teams were pitted against each other - although it turned out it was impossible to stop the Premier League footballers from joining in.
"It was enjoyable," beamed skipper Darren Fletcher afterwards. "It's good working with kids because it brings back memories of what it was like. I remember (Scotland international) Darren Jackson coming to my school when I was about eight or nine.
"He was great with us, played with us and joined in. It's a memory that I've got so you just try and replicate that. Just try and be normal and spend a bit of time with them."
Here's the moment the children welcomed the team in #wba pic.twitter.com/107Wqq4suN— Matt Wilson (@mattwilson_star) April 25, 2017
Fletcher's team was particularly lethal against Ben Foster's outfit, which meant the Baggies captain had to regularly bust out the dance celebration he had organised with the kids.
"I didn't expect the team to score so many goals!" he said. "I thought I'd get away with just doing it once, but the team kept scoring so I had to keep doing it.
"It's just when they start saying that you're famous! I never see myself as famous, I play football, I'm not famous. They didn't seem to grasp that.
"But it's great, to see their faces light up means a lot to them. It doesn't happen to me often. Not many schoolkids get to meet professional footballers and the reaction says it all.
"It's all about inspiring them. Telling them 'you're capable of anything, don't let anyone stop you doing something'.
"If you've got a dream and you practice and give it your all there's a good chance you'll get there, doesn't matter what it is, doesn't have to be football.
"When I think how normal the players are – a lot of our lads are humble and down to earth – I think they can relate to that as well which is a good example for people."
The schools involved were Tividale Community, Grove Primary, Woodside, St Matthias, St Clements, Galton Valley, St James. Glynne Primary, Glebefields Primary, Bleakhouse, and St Joseph's.
Footage of the tournament will be shown during an upcoming Sunday morning edition of Match of the Day.
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