Youngster was the mascot as Boro took on Charlton on his first ever visit to the Riverside - He also got to meet favourite player Kike
Boro-mad Zac, 6, given the best surprise - leading out his Boro heroes at the Riverside
A youngster lived his dream when he lead out his Boro heroes and met his favourite player - and it was all a complete surprise.
Zac Roberts was a Boro mascot on his first ever trip to the Riverside Stadium on Saturday, all achieved by the hard work of a local fans group after an online campaign.
They had completed the 320-mile journey from their home in Portsmouth, where site assistant Pete moved to from Teesside 15 years ago.
But footy-mad Zac was raised a Boro fan and plays in goal for his team Havant and Waterlooville Under-7s - which is made all the more impressive by the fact he is partially deaf in both ears.
Pete, 41, said: “The look on his face when he found out was brilliant. He was literally bouncing off the walls with excitement.
“He got to meet Stewart Downing, who was captain for the day and lead the teams out. Before that he got to meet Kike as well, who is his favourite player.
“We’d been given a shirt by the club and I’d taken it to get Kike’s name and number on the back for him, I asked him to come and sign it after the warm up and he came straight over. He was a lovely bloke.”
Pete is passionate in his support for the Boro, setting up two Facebook sites for fans - where, in his own words, he “had a rant” about how some families “couldn’t afford” Boro games because of ticket prices.
The Boro Real Fans Believe In Dreams group was then born during a fundraising effort send Zac and his dad to the Wembley play-off final.
As reported, the Facebook campaign by Jenny Fowles, 46, of Thornaby, process technician Tony Wedlake, 40, of Marton and self-employed fencing contractor Jimmy Wilson, 56, of Stockton, took off and secured Zac’s spot as mascot.
It was the first event to be organised by the group - but matchday tickets, stadium tours and other events have also been arranged and will see an estimated 450 children have a Boro experience by the end of the season.
Pete continued: “I met a lot of the people involved in the groups and in some of the groups I run.
“To be honest, it was quite an emotional day. Zac was given loads of presents, a football, an England shirt, and a signed shirt from Glen Durrant, the darts player.
“I really want to say thank you to everyone who helped, especially Tony, Jimmy, Jenny and Michael Serrechia.
“It shows the fantastic and proud community spirit on Teesside.”