Chelsea mascot who pranked Steven Gerrard - what happened to him?

  • Kat Lucas
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Lining up in the tunnel alongside the likes of John Terry and Steven Gerrard was a childhood dream for millions of fans. 

Those fortunate few who were selected to be mascots enjoyed a day they'll never have forgotten. 

One such mascot had an encounter which was particularly memorable ahead of Chelsea's game against Liverpool in February 2006. 

The Blues were champions and won the game 2-0 thanks to goals from Hernan Crespo and William Gallas.

But ahead of kick-off, the atmosphere was tense and Gerrard was gearing himself up for one of the biggest games of the season. 

What happened next, he described in his autobiography, was the only time he smiled in the tunnel prior to a match.

Gerrard teased by mascot 

A Chelsea mascot, who had died his hair blue for the occasion, called the Liverpool legend's name but as Gerrard went to shake his hand, he left him hanging. Brilliant. 

The boy in question was called Jake Nickless - and it's a name you might want to make a note of, as he's determined to make it in football himself. 

Nickless told SPORTbible that it was his dad who thought up the prank, which made him an instant sensation and even led to him being interviewed in the press at just five years of age. 

"I remember my dad putting me up to it," he said. 

"I kept saying I wasn't going to do it and I think he eventually believed it, so he stopped.

"But in the moment I was just got excited and thought why not. I knew the game was also on TV and loads of people were watching, so I just provided a bit of entertainment.

"Me and Gerrard actually didn't speak at all, All I said was 'Gerrard!' to get his attention.

"I remember Claude Makelele and Michael Essien laughing as it happened, and John Terry gave me a pat on the head afterwards, when I walked back to hold his hand.

"I think everyone found it funny...apart from Stevie G."

What's he up to these days? 

Nickless is now 20 years old - doesn't time fly? 

His love of football hasn't dimmed and he's been carving out his own path in the non-league game, spending time with National League South side and every hipster's favourite minnows Dulwich Hamlet. 

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After that, he headed to Billericay Town, who were at the time being managed by former Tottenham midfielder Jamie O'Hara. 

O'Hara was impressed by him after handing him a trial and he gave him a contract in August 2020. 

In December of last year, he took part in a community initiative handing out Christmas presents. 

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So if you live in Essex, you might have inadvertently had a knock on the door from the legend who left Gerrard red-faced all those years ago. 

Of all the embarrassing moments Gerrard had against Chelsea, this probably wasn't the worst, mind you...

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