Ipswich Town star Luke Varney surprises Rendlesham student Sam Docker, who will lead the team out on Saturday
- Credit: Archant
A Suffolk schoolboy will take centre stage at Portman Road on Saturday after being surprised in class by Ipswich Town striker Luke Varney.
Varney, who scored the only goal in Town’s victory against Derby County on Tuesday, popped into year five pupil Sam Docker’s French class at Rendlesham Primary School to the disbelief of other students to tell him he would be the club’s ‘community champion’ – leading the team out and carrying the match ball before the game against Aston Villa.
The nine-year-old and a friend will also get to visit the home team’s dressing room, as well as the referee’s dressing room, before kick-off.
One of Sam’s older brothers, George, 15, has an undiagnosed condition which includes a form of cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, epilepsy and a bleeding disorder called factor X1 deficiency, as well as muscular, neurological and gastric problems. The muscles around his heart also do not work as well as they should, which he will soon start taking medication for – for the rest of his life.
On being told of his surprise, Sam said: “It’s surprising, considering I’m at school.
“It’s such a nice honour to have Luke at the school and to meet him.”
Sam, who plays for Woodbridge Town under-10s, said his football-mad older brother would be “really excited” to hear he would be at Portman Road to watch the game with his other brother, 17-year-old Bradley and his parents, Andrew and Andrea.
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“It’s really exciting,” the nine-year-old added.
Varney said: “It’s well documented that we’re (Ipswich Town) are close to the community and it’s the same set up at the club.
“When I see Sam it’ll be a boost to me and if I can dedicate another goal to him I would be delighted.
“I think sometimes it brings you back to reality when you think about how lucky we are do this day in, day out. It’s great to meet these people and we have nothing but admiration for them.”