Louis Tomlinson, the One Direction singer who is more used to playing in front of an adoring crowd of teenagers screaming for him and his pals, made his soccer debut for Doncaster Rovers reserves on Wednesday evening.
Tomlinson strutted onto the field wearing the number 28 shirt in the 64th minute, and those inside the Keepmoat Stadium furiously erupted when they saw the pop star.
Tomlinson, who hails from the Bessacarr area of Doncaster, originally signed for the club last summer on a non-contract basis. However, the fact that he is a part of the world’s most popular pop-act meant that he has only just been able to join the field with his teammates.
Of course, a small army of One Directioners made their way to the stadium to show their support for Tomlinson. Because of his participation, this particular Doncaster Rovers reserves game, which was against their bitter rivals Rotherham United, drew a crowd of over 5,000. Usually these contests are watched by no more than 100 locals.
The stadium was filled with teenage girls who had made a laborious trek to the north of England in order to watch their idol. Talking to the BBC, 18-year-old Lucy Nowak and 15-year-old Sahar Ghadirian admitted, “We bought our tickets the day they came out. I just want a photo. I’ve got three but they are all rubbish so I want to try and get a proper one.”
Meanwhile, a trio of 12-year-olds from the area, who admitted that they are “hardcore Directioners,” stated, “I am not really a football fan. But if Louis is playing then I am.”
But the most die-hard fan to attend the game was clearly Ashley Naubert, who travelled from Michigan, USA, to watch. “I just had to jump on the opportunity,” she admitted. “This was a spur of the moment decision made three weeks ago. I had to come. It’s a a chance to see him from a different perspective.”
Unfortunately for soccer aficionados in attendance the encounter was far from a classic, as it ultimately concluded 0-0. For most individuals there though that didn’t really matter, and Tomlinson, who slotted into right-back when he came on, was constantly cheered by those inside who are more appreciative of his vocal talents than his ability with the ball.
Last September, Tomlinson played during a charity match at Celtic Park, but after a rather ferocious tackle by professional footballer Gabriel Agbonlahor he was forced to be substituted and was then subsequently sick.