MILES Webber had a 50th birthday celebration he won’t forget when he led out Manchester City on Monday night for their Premier League clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
As part of the surprise at the Etihad Stadium, his family sponsored the match ball.
It meant that Miles met a number of City’s players past and present, while also taking in a VIP tour of the stadium and dining in the prestigious Tunnel Club.
He said: “To walk out on to the pitch was extraordinary and surreal.
“The players were lining up either side of me and 50,000 people watching — it is what boyhood dreams are made of.”
Miles’ Hull-born wife Carolyn (nee Golding) arranged the surprise, together with friends Phil Bergman — a Manchester United supporter —and Mark Weingard.
Joining them and daughter Tali were two more of Miles’ friends in Gary Myers and Mark Isaacs.
Miles, who celebrates his 50th birthday today, said: “On Sunday night, Carolyn told me she had cancelled all my arrangements for Monday, which I couldn’t understand because I had a lunch with a client and meetings arranged.
“She then told me that we were going to Euston Station in the morning. I had in my diary that I was going to watch City against Wolves on the box, so I then realised what was going on.”
The Londoner was a latecomer to football, as he only went to his first match in 1987.
He explained: “I grew up in a frum home, so Saturdays were for shul and not for footie.
“I went to university in Manchester in the mid-1980s, so went to my first game, which was at Maine Road, in 1987. I think it was against Luton Town.
“At the time, I thought to myself, ‘I can’t believe I have deprived myself of this’.
“The Kippax was bouncing and it really was love at first sight for Manchester City.”
In the 1990s, he also spent time as chairman of the club’s supporters’ trust.
And Miles recalled a moment from the 1998-1999 season, when City beat Gillingham on penalties in the Division Three play-off final after a dramatic comeback as his favourite moment as a Blue.
He explained: “I talked to (players from that era) Paul Dickov, Andy Morrison, Richard Edghill and Ian Brightwell in the Tunnel Club on Monday about that game.
“It was a defining moment for the club. If we had lost that game, we would have been the Preston North End of today.”
Asked to name his favourite ever City player, Miles, who works in the property business, couldn’t decide between Shaun Goater or present-day heroes Sergio Aguero and David Silva.
“I was supposed to hand Silva the ball in the centre-circle, which I was worried about, because I thought, ‘what if I fall on him or drop the ball on him?’,” Miles laughed.
“Thankfully, in the end, the referee gave the ball to him.
“We were told not to speak to the players because they were ‘in the zone’, but Mark and I did have a chat with Raheem Sterling, and he was fabulous.”
Miles didn’t get the chance to meet City manager Pep Guardiola.
He was also thankful that Gabriel Jesus did not complete his hat-trick in the 3-0 win as it meant he took away the signed match ball in a glass case.
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