It has to be one of the most unlikely liaisons but the players of Scaynes Hill 3rd team met their No 1 fan on Saturday.
Despite the torrential rain that decimated the local football programme, Scaynes Hill were determined to get the go-ahead for Saturday’s home match with Danehill 2nds at virtually all costs.
Thaddeus Nieves, a high ranking police officer who lives just outside New York, was over for a week with his wife Diane and teenage daughter Emily. That covered only one Saturday and so he was desperate to see Hill in action.
The Division 11A game, the 23rd level of our national game, did go ahead, one of only seven Gray Hooper Holt LLP Mid Sussex Football League fixtures to beat the deluge. And although Hill lost 5-2, that did not detract one iota from the enjoyment of the man who linked up with the 3rds via the worldwide web a year ago.
Originally he contacted the league to ask whether he could buy a shirt and that aroused the curiosity of then league secretary Lawrie Parsons. Lawrie, now president and treasurer, was at the Bent Arms in Lindfield along with league chairman David Port to have a celebratory meal with the overseas visitors and around 20 other guests on Saturday evening.
Scaynes Hill chairman Ian Tessier, who has been in regular contact with Thaddeus over the past year, presented him with an original 3rd team shirt and also a new one with his name and the No 1 on it.
Ian said: “It had to be that number because he’s our No 1 fan. He has promised to come over for our centenary in 2022-23 but hopes to be here again before that.”
Ian also presented Thaddeus with an engraved whisky glass. The American always celebrates a 3rd team win with half a glass of whisky - and a full one for each goal. Saturday would have been one of his booziest for a while! The family returned to America on Tuesday.