Everton skipper Phil Jagielka springs a surprise on loyal fan at Flintshire factory
A Premier League footballer paid a visit to a Flintshire factory recently to give a loyal fan a well-earned afternoon off.
Dave Williams, 52, was halfway through his shift at Kimberly-Clark paper mill in Flint when Everton defender Phil Jagielka, dressed in a high-vis jacket, safety shoes and protective goggles turned up.
Dave has spent more than twenty years working overtime at the Flint factory to pay for Everton season tickets for him and his four sons.
The Everton club captains surprise appearance was part of the club’s ‘Side By Side’ season ticket campaign, which has seen players past and present lending support to loyal Evertonians.
Jagielka chipped in to help Dave out with his duties and even make a round of brews for other workers at the plant.
On finishing his shift the former England international then broke the news to Dave that he was being gifted his Goodison Park Season Ticket for next term.
Dave was nominated for the surprise by his four sons, whose Season Tickets have been paid for by their father since they were old enough to attend fixtures.
Now in their 20s, Dave continues to take on extra hours with the company where he has worked since the age of 16 to ensure his sons can still afford to get to games on top of their other commitments.
“From when we were all kids, everything has been Everton and he’s given us everything that we’ve needed,” explained Dave’s son, Dan, who joined Jagielka to surprise his dad at his workplace.
We’ve always had Season Tickets and that’s down to him paying for them. When the new kits came out, we always had them – if it was Everton he’d be sorting it out for us.
“Even now, he’s the one who drives to the game every week, he doesn’t ask for any petrol money off us and he’s the first still to jump and do overtime to make sure we’ve got what we need – for Everton and anything else we need in life.”
“I was really, really surprised,” said Dave. “We’d been told a VIP guest was coming on the day but I never thought it would be something like that – and for me. Everybody kept it very quiet but it means a lot.”
“I’ve been taking my lads since they were very little so it’s a nice way to be paid back – and nice I won’t have to pay next season for a change!”
Dave followed in his father’s footsteps when taking up a role at Kimberly-Clark and his boss, also named Dave Williams, said he was more than deserving of his special treat.
“He’s got Z-Cars as his ringtone, he’s bounces in on a Monday when Everton have won, he talks about them constantly – he’s a super fan,” he said. “We were absolutely made up to be able to help make this happen because he’s been a really, really good employee and very loyal.
“He’s been with us for over 30 years, his dad worked here before that so it’s a family affair, and to see him here today with his son and Jags, it would’ve meant the world to him. Work or football, he’s never less than 100 per cent committed to everything he does.”
Jagielka, who has made almost 400 first-team appearances for Everton since joining from Sheffield United in July 2007, said: “Meeting and rewarding fans like this is what it’s about.
Four boys, all mad on Everton, they’ve realised the pressure on their dad to make sure they could all come to the game growing up and they’ve wanted to say a little thank you back.
“I was a little bit worried beforehand that I wouldn’t be much use to Dave with his work but we got through it and he’s not got the sack, so that’s a bonus!”
We see the games as a family thing now and a chance for us to get together – Dad and all his lads,” added Dan.
“It’s that little bit of time we get together and us all being there again next season will be everything to him.
As soon as we were able to renew, Dad was telling us you need to renew now, the deadline’s this date, he was on at us to make sure we were going to be there, even though we were always going to be anyway.”
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