EMIL ANDERSON'S non-league column: Pilky is living the dream
10:40am Tuesday 10th September 2013 in Other Football
IT was just before midnight on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 when 18-year-old Anthony Pilkington slipped into bed.
He couldn’t sleep initially, despite having a couple of pints of Guinness to celebrate scoring a hat-trick in Atherton Collieries’ fine 3-0 victory against North West Counties League top-flight leaders FC United of Manchester in front of 1,800 people.
He deserved to mull the game over in his head. Exhaustion soon took over and this led to a vivid dream, the type you can half remember when you wake up in the morning.
He had signed for Stockport County and scored a couple of goals in his first few appearances. Then he was at Wembley scoring in a play-off final. Not only did the team win, he also collected the man-of-the-match award The dream continued apace: a move to another team in blue ’n’ white stripes – maybe Huddersfield Town – further progression and adulation from the fans and fellow players; he was in the league team of the year. An injury, he was in plaster, he skipped over the pain.
Talks with another manager and signing for another club, in canary yellow, it must be Norwich City.
This was the Premier League; a first goal at the Reebok against Bolton Wanderers and a game against home-town heroes Blackburn Rovers.
Then, the dream took another turn – a fine header against Manchester United to win the game.
The adrenaline was now pumping; finally Anthony woke up after he was seen in a Republic of Ireland jersey against another team in yellow.
He looked at the neon clock, it said 4:03. He turned the light on, after a few seconds he recognised the signed match ball from the previous night’s game.
Reality. Within seconds he was back to sleep.
He ate breakfast with his dad, Neil, the following morning. His first proper words to him were “I had this mad dream last night, I scored a winning goal against Manchester United and I also played for the Republic of Ireland”.
His dad smiled as he replied: “Don’t worry son, I have had dreams like that all my life.”
Dreams can come true!