Jack Mattey became the youngest ever player to represent the club’s first team on Saturday against Letchworth Garden City at Rowley Lane.
Aged just 16 and 14 days, Mattey came on as a second half substitute and put in an impressive performance having graduated from the Under 16s team.
It’s been a busy week, with the new stand erected in his father’s name being opened but he has taken it all in his stride.
1st team Manager Andrew Landesberg was full of praise, with the relevance of Jack’s surname not lost on him: ‘What an unbelievable story this is, Jack and his family have had a great few days at the club, he was on the bench last week but unfortunately never got on. Darren Yarlett coaches him at Under 16 level and only has good things to say, he had been invited into training with the 1st team over the last few weeks and looked bright and sharp. I always say if you are good enough then you are old enough, he attacked well, defended well and his pass completion was excellent. This shows what hard work is currently going on with the youngsters at the club, We had both Josh Tray and Louie Greenham (both 18) starting today’.
The commitment to bringing through young talent its hoped will inspire others currently in the Lions youth set-up.
Jack said ‘It’s an amazing feeling to play for the 1st team today and I’m honoured to make my debut at such a young age. Its been a mad few days that I wont forget in a hurry, Thursday nights opening of the new stand in memory of my dad and becoming the youngest player in the club’s history to make his Saturday senior debut is an unforgettable experience. I’m just gutted that we couldn’t get the win as I thought we played well enough to get all 3 points’
We’re pretty sure that Jack’s first team career at Lions is just starting, incredibly 20 years to the month of Alan Mattey’s debut in the same team; we wish him the best of luck!