Imagine turning up to play for your semi-professional team on a Saturday afternoon and spotting Paul Scholes lacing up his boots for the opponents.
Your first thought would be: ‘wait a minute, is that Pau… no, can’t be!’
Stockport Georgians’ players experienced this in September 2018 when Scholes, aged 43 at the time, came out of retirement to help out his son’s team.
Royton Town, who were competing in the 11th tier of English football, managed to convince the Manchester United legend to pull on their maroon strip for one game only.
They were short on players and told their opponents that they were bringing in a 43-year-old dad to help out.
Little did Stockport Georgians know that the unnamed father in question was one of the greatest midfielders in the history of English football.
Video: Paul Scholes in action for Royton Town
A couple of videos of Scholes in action were posted to social media and you can watch them here:
Even at 43 in a semi-pro game, Scholesy was still prepared to fly into a 50/50 tackle. You love to see it.
However, the presence of a former England international wasn’t enough to prevent Royton slumping to a 1-0 defeat.
If you were part of the Stockport Georgians’ team that afternoon, you’d surely mention that you beat a team containing Paul Scholes at every available opportunity!
Despite the defeat, Royton manager Mark Howard praised Scholes for “raising the level of those around him by 10-15 per cent” – including that of his own son, Arron.
“We had eight or nine of our senior players missing and Paul said he’d be happy to help out if we were ever short as his son Arron plays for us,” Howard told BBC Sport.
“It’s great for the league. Opponents don’t want to look stupid in front of him.”
Royton chairman Gary Leeming added: “Usually these sort of games attract 40 or 50 people but there were a lot more there when word got out that he was playing.
“I can’t imagine Stockport Georgians have ever had so many people on their car park.
“We were down to the bare bones. He’s 43 now but he’s still got that magic wand and he was absolutely fantastic for us.
“He obviously has a lot of media commitments but he occasionally trains with us when he can and is still a great player.”
Class truly is permanent.
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