A Dream come true for Asian Today Mascot winner
ASIAN TODAY Mascot winner Haashim Shakeel described the moment his dreams came true after running out onto Birmingham City’s St Andrews pitch dressed in the blue and white of his beloved team.
The seven-year-old, a lifelong supporter of Birmingham City, won the chance to become a Blues mascot for the clubs crunch derby against West Bromwich Albion after his father secretly entered him into our competition.
Haashim, a pupil at the Al-Furqan Primary school in the Tyseley area of the city, was only told he had won the prize a day before the big game.
“I didn’t know I had won until my dad told me I was going to the match and that I would be on the pitch with the players”, Haashim told The Asian Today.
“I thought he was joking with me but the next day we drove to the club and that’s when I knew he wasn’t joking”, he added.
As part of the package, kindly donated by the club, Haashim was given a full kit and enjoyed a kick around on the pitch amongst his Blues heroes.
And while his proud family looked on from the touchline, Haashim also posed for pictures with his favourite Blues player DJ Campbell (pictured right).
But it was running out in front of more than 21,000 cheering fans that was the youngsters highlight of the day.
He said: “I was so excited about going onto the pitch at the start of the game. As I ran onto the pitch the crowd were clapping and cheering. I was so happy”.
Haashim’s father, 33-year-old Shakeel Mohammed, who accompanied his son to the game, told The Asian Today he was delighted at seeing his son’s reaction when told he had won the mascot competition.
“I didn’t really want to tell Haashim that I has entered him in the competition because he would have been extremely upset if he didn’t win”, he said.
“When I told him that he had won he didn’t believe me but it sank in the morning of the match when I drove to the ground. His face lit up when he realised I wasn’t joking after all.”
Mr Mohammed, who works for Virgin Trains, added young Haashim has not stopped talking about the experience since the match.
“For hours after he kept talking about the match but which young Blues fan wouldn’t. It was a great experience and one I don’t think he’ll forget in a long time”, he added.
Carnival Fun as Blues mark Kick it Out Week
Birmingham City showed why they’re so eager to kick racism out of football after treating their loyal fans to a carnival style atmosphere to mark anti-racism week.
The week long initiative, which was organised by anti-racism body Kick it Out, was celebrated across the country under the banner ‘One Game One Community’.
Getting into the spirit, Blues invited cultural steel band ‘Steel and Strings’ to provide music prior to kick off and create a carnival atmosphere as fans flocked into the ground to watch their crunch derby game against Championship rivals West Bromwich Albion.
For the Blues backing the initiative was just as important as grabbing three points from their local rivals.
Their match day programme was crammed full of articles and interviews celebrating the clubs proud association with the anti-racism message.
Manager Steve Bruce, who enjoyed a glittering career with Manchester United, expressed his support for the ‘One Game One Community’ call in his message to the fans saying, “the players have all embraced it with open arms because there is absolutely no place for that sort of behaviour at a football stadium, or anywhere else for that matter”.
There was also an interview with Blues midfielder Neil Danns who has recently been appointed the clubs anti-racism ambassador.
The ‘One Game One Community’ initiative is expected to run throughout the year, and on this performance, Blues commitment to the message will never falter.