AN ex-Premier League footballer made a shock appearance in the Wrexham Sunday League, wearing a cunning disguise.
TV pundit and former Wales international Robbie Savage returned to his roots on Sunday morning when he turned out for Bradley Park in Division Two of the Wrexham Sunday League, in their fixture against The Turf FC.
Robbie, formerly of Leicester City, Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City, was taking part in a film for the BBC’s The One Show, showcasing grassroots football.
Back in February, BBC bosses had contacted Phil Beard, Bradley Park’s secretary, to see if they would be happy for Robbie to make an appearance for his childhood club.
Mr Beard said the club would be delighted to take part but was sworn to secrecy, along with two Sunday League officials, as the twist was Robbie would be playing in disguise.
A full crew of make-up artists set up camp in Bradley Park’s changing rooms at 6.30am to fit Robbie with a prosthetic mask, complete with a wig and beard, before being introduced to his teammates 30 minutes prior to kick-off.
Mr Beard said the whole day had been a “brilliant experience for everyone”. He Added: “I went into the changing room and told the lads I’ve broken our transfer record to bring back an ex-Bradley player.
“Robbie walked in and at first they didn’t quite clock who it was but then one of the lads said: ‘It’s Savage!’.
“Our lads had to call him Sam so it didn’t give the game away.
“We told The Turf I was being filmed for a programme about the longest-serving secretaries, so they were none the wiser.
“At the end of the game Robbie took his disguise off and the look on The Turf players faces was fantastic. They all thought it was great fun and Robbie was brilliant with all the lads, signing autographs and chatting away, he was lovely.”
Despite bending in a 30-yard free-kick, Robbie couldn’t prevent Bradley Park slipping to a 6-3 defeat, but Mr Beard said the day “wasn’t about the result”.
“It’s great exposure for a club like ourselves and a boost for Sunday football here”, he added.
“We run the club so the lads have something to do on a Sunday morning, and this really helps put us on the map.”