Horsham fan and Sussex County FA Disability Representative player James Smith is now sharing a pitch with his childhood hero Lee Farrell.
Smith is a huge fan of his local side Horsham and admired their former striker Farrell, who he used to watch play for the club as a child.
Back in December 2007, Smith attended the historic FA Cup second round replay between Swansea City and Horsham at the Liberty Stadium.
Smith witnessed his hero score twice in what ended as a 6-2 defeat against the now Football League side.
Farrell’s terrific performance that night had a huge impact on 13-year-old Smith and he was inspired to go on to achieve as much as he possibly could in football.
Farrell, who currently plays for Brighton Deaf FC, had a great career playing for the likes of Horsham and Lewes.
He also represented Great Britain at the Deaflympics which took place in Melbourne, scoring a last-minute winner to secure the gold medal.
The Hornets reportedly paid a club record free £2,500 for a 23-year-old Farrell in the summer of 2007 after he had scored six goals in ten games while on loan from Lewes the previous season.
Eleven-years later and Smith, who has a mental health illness, was selected to represent the Sussex County FA’s Disability Squad in the Quarter-Finals of the South East Regional 11v11 Disability Cup, alongside his idol Farrell.
Pam Chandler, Sussex County FA Disability Representative joint manager said: “It’s every players dream to play in the same team as someone they grew up watching.
“Lee had to overcome a lot of barriers to achieve what he has in the game, and it’s something that inspires many within our own team, he is a fantastic role model for them.
“James thoroughly deserved his call up to the squad, and it was an unforgettable moment for him to meet and play alongside Lee.
“Lee was incredibly humble; he took the time to speak to James and his family, who were in the stands supporting the team, making it a memorable occasion for all!”
For further information on disability football in Sussex, contact the Sussex FA on 01903 766855 or email, development@SussexFA.com