Eastbourne sisters meet Beckham, Haaland and Prince William at Wembley – and take Manchester City to their hearts

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When Manchester City claimed the Champions League title in Istanbul on Saturday night, the nation was tuned in, and most were cheering. But nobody cheered louder than two young ladies in Langney.

Sitting on the sofa at home, we caught up with them to relive their amazing weekend. Just a week earlier, these two had actually stepped out on to the Wembley turf hand in hand with their newly adopted City heroes.

Amelie and Sophie Paviour were, of course, Emirates FA Cup Final mascots! It had been a memorable story – and Istanbul was just the next chapter, with City’s winning goal struck by Rodri, who with Bernardo Silva was one of the players who had partnered our girls on their magical walk.

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Play the clip back, and you might just catch their whispered advice to Rodri…”When you get to Istanbul, don’t score too early – wait till the second half – you’ll get one chance of a shot from the edge of the box – squeeze it just inside the post where the keeper’s unsighted..” – “OK, girls, thanks – I’ll remember that!”

The Paviour sisters enjoy their day outThe Paviour sisters enjoy their day out
The Paviour sisters enjoy their day out

Back to Wembley. Shining eyes and beaming faces? Well yes, but we who watched from afar, on our TV screens, actually saw two girls who were totally professional: proud, confident and focused on the job in hand. Walking out on the pitch had been more than just a walk in the park. “We had to practice over and over again! They told us exactly what to do and we needed to get it exactly right. So we had to concentrate!”

But that didn’t take the fun away, girls?

You all know the back story. The tickets in early season from commercial manager Sian Ansell – who has been both a formidable ally and a wonderful friend to the family – to the Borough-Uxbridge FA Cup tie, which was to prove simply a rehearsal for the final. The messages of thanks to Borough from Dad Andrew, for bringing “a shaft of sunlight” at a challenging time. The cake sales and coffee mornings. The Emirates’ nationwide search for special people to be mascots. And in the Easter holidays, the Big Reveal. And that Wembley date went into the Paviours’ diary.

Emirates did them proud. With Dad Andrew and Uncle David, Amelie and Sophia were collected by special taxi for the ride to London, where on College Green, with a backdrop of the Houses of Parliament, they were interviewed by Meridian TV. Then off to the hotel. “It was really smart and posh – the Millennium Hotel – where we met the other mascots. They were from all over England – Boreham Wood, Alvechurch and Wrexham.”

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The girls meet Prince WilliamThe girls meet Prince William
The girls meet Prince William

But talking to the girls, you get the clear impression that the hotel was really just an enjoyable, if rather posh, extra. The Main Event was still to come, and Saturday dawned bright and full of activity. A professional job to be done! In fact, the professionalism had begun at home. Like all Mums getting their kids sorted for a school trip, Sarah had got them organised during the week. With a very professional-looking set of name-cards and photos, Sophia and Amelie had been thoroughly drilled to recognise the City players! (They’ll make rather good Herald match reporters if Kevin Anderson ever steps down…)

And on the Big Day, their knowledge was put to good use, knowing exactly which players they’d be paired with. Before that, there was the coach ride to the Stadium. Meet anyone famous, girls? Ask them that, and the outrageous name-dropping begins…. “One of the first people we met was David Beckham! We had photos taken with him and he was really friendly. We asked him some questions about being a footballer.”

It doesn’t get bigger than Beckham – but it does get taller. “Next, we went to meet the Man City players as they climbed off their team coach. They were friendly and said hi – but the one who really stopped and chatted to us was Erling Haaland, he was supernice and really cheery. When they’re on TV, they seem like megastars, but up close they are just natural.”

Amelie and Sophia are sitting on the sofa opposite me. It’s been a school day but the uniform is long since abandoned. Smart ladies always need a choice of outfits; and A and S are torn between the bright red of their Borough shirts – and the splendid special top from Emirates – emblazoned with PAVIOUR. Just for once, the Sports have to take second place…

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Watching the Cup finalWatching the Cup final
Watching the Cup final

But back to a bit more name-dropping. What’s that momentous Kipling line? “If you can talk with Kings and keep your virtue…” Well, His Majesty couldn’t make it, but he’d merely sent Prince William! And the Royal Family’s keenest football fan chatted happily with all the mascots as they waited, just teeny bit nervously, in the tunnel.

And then at last, the Walk Out. “It was unbelievably loud!” recalls Sophia. “When we’d been doing the practice walks, there were lots of busy people around – but no supporters.” Sister Amelie agrees. “It was like a kind of ocean of people, all roaring and swaying and waving their flags!” Cue two young ladies to grasp their own proud banners of white and sky blue – all part of the mascot package of course!

Did those flags get plenty of wild waving during the match? “Yep, and singing and shouting of course. The only problem was that we missed the first goal (Gundogan in twelve seconds) because we were still climbing up to our seats. But it was a brilliant game. And the right team won!”

Well actually, girls, we at Borough reckon that you were the real winners. You, and your proud Mum and Dad, and – trying to keep up with you – all of us at the Lane. Many thanks to all who made it possible, with a special word for that Sian Ansell lady. Amelie and Sophia, Sarah and Andrew, we are proud and very privileged to share your journey