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22nd Aug 2017

Meet Mick and Phil – the Stoke fans whose goal celebration went viral

Simon Lloyd

At 18:35 on Saturday evening, Jesé Rodriguez scored a debut goal for Stoke City.

Days after finalising his transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, the Spaniard – a two-time Champions League winner during his Real Madrid days – calmly slotted the ball beyond Petr Cech and into the Arsenal goal to give his new team the lead shortly after the half-time interval.

This was the first goal of the new Premier League season to be witnessed by those at the Bet365 Stadium and it would prove to be enough for Mark Hughes’ men to claim their first points of the campaign.

Seconds later, photographer David Rogers captured Jesé being congratulated by teammate Sadio Berahino against the backdrop of a joyous Boothen End.

The picture, like hundreds more taken by the photographers at the game, was available on Getty Images within minutes. By full-time, the image had been shared high and wide across social media. The next day, it would also appear in national newspapers and even on Match of the Day 2.

Jesé’s match-winning debut goal was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the weekend’s Premier League action and while he and Berahino will have been the intended subjects of Rogers’ picture, the reason it was so widely shared was down to what was taking place in the stand.

So excited by what they had just witnessed, two Stoke supporters – both fully-grown men – had somehow ended up lying on the concrete steps which divided two banks of seating. One of them was upside down, the other – fanzine in hand – appeared to be sitting on top of him with his right leg over his chest. Hilariously, both of them continued to celebrate the goal.

The two fans on the steps were Mick Walklate (the upside down man) and his nephew, Phil Trevor. Both are Stoke season ticket holders and, along with Phil’s dad (Mick’s brother-in-law), Mark Trevor, they have watched their team from the same Boothen End seats for years.

Speaking to JOE about the now-viral photograph of their celebration, the pair admit that they were blissfully unaware of it until after the game had finished.

“We’d gone in the club shop after the game,” Mick, 51, explained. “My brother-in-law [Mark] had waited outside for us and got talking to some guy from one of the fanzines.

“He told Mark about some picture that he’d been sent of two blokes who’d fallen over celebrating the goal. It was only when he showed him he realised it was us!”

Recalling how he had ended up in the position, Mick added: “As they scored I jumped up and my foot went down the back of chair in front as the bloke who normally sits in front of us hadn’t come back after half-time.

“I’m 6 foot 3 and completely lost my balance. I sort of twisted to try and stop myself. 

“As far as I can gather, Phil, who was only just getting back to his seat, tried to grab me but couldn’t. When we eventually stopped that was the position we were in – just laughing on the floor.

“I banged my head, but the goal made up for it. It was hilarious really.”

“The photo’s been taken at the perfect time,” Phil, 32, adds. “I just can’t believe the response it’s had.

People try and go viral all the time and we’ve done it by accident. We’re a pair of idiots!”

Mick explained that he has been inundated with friend requests since Saturday, some from Stoke fans in Norway. Phil describes having similar experiences, especially after the photo was acknowledged by the likes of Jack Butland and Berahino. The former West Brom striker has even reached out to the pair to ensure that they receive signed Stoke shirts, a gesture that both have praised.

“It shows that the players appreciate the supporters and it means a lot to us,” Mick said.

“Footballers are often accused of just taking the money and ignoring the fans. Stuff like this says otherwise,” Phil added.

Phil also tells us that a supporter sitting nearby also took a picture of the pair shortly after their tumble down the steps.

“As we were leaving at the end, this lad came up and showed us a picture .

“I asked him to send it to my phone because it was hilarious and I didn’t think I’d see it again,” he laughs. “Little did I know.”

Both men – and those that were sitting close by – have seen the funny side of the incident. However, as Phil points out, the fact that the image is so relatable to many football fans is as much to do with why it has received such a huge response.

“Every football fan can at some point relate to getting a little too carried away with a celebration, it’s just our moment has ended up blowing up.”