BEING a ball boy isn’t all about being kicked by Belgian superstars, it can be a rewarding vocation too.
Adam Wainwright has graduated from spending his Saturdays as a ball boy at the County Ground in the early 90s to now work for the club as a marketing executive, but still has fond memories of patrolling the touchline during the Glenn Hoddle era.
“I have loads of memories which I will always keep, and one was in Kevin Keegan’s first game as manager of Newcastle when Colin Calderwood scored a late winner. He ran round the corner flag and I ran with them too to celebrate the goal with them.
“Terry Fenwick carried me off once, and when we scored the first goal in the first leg of the play-offs against Tranmere John Gorman grabbed hold of me and jumped up and down and celebrated because I was the first person he saw.
“When we played Manchester United at home Mark Hughes ended up in the crowd after trying to keep the ball in, and he cited that one of the fans threw a punch. It all got lively and I was right there but managed to distance myself from it because it was quite heated.”
During all that time, Wainwright was never given orders to hold onto the ball or slow the game down in the way Charlie Morgan did in the game between Swansea and Chelsea on Wednesday night.
“We were playing really good attractive football under Hoddle, so we were told to get it back as quick as possible,” he said.
“The fans pay good money and they want to see high tempo stuff, and we played a part in that and had a duty to get the ball back as quick as possible.
“There were never any instructions to hold the ball, and you just threw it back as quickly as you possibly can.
“If the player wants to waste time when you had thrown it back to him that was his decision and the responsibility had been passed on to them.”