An NHS worker has his eye on victory when he fulfils every footballer’s dream by playing at Wembley.
Two years ago, Michael Arthur was in goal for Stockton Town in front of a couple of hundreds supporters.
I can’t believe I’ll get the chance to sing the national anthem at our country’s stadium.Michael Arthur
Now the retinal screener and grader at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is to play at the home of football in the FA Vase final against Thatcham Town.
It will be watched by 40,000 people and broadcast live on TV on Sunday, May 20.
He said: “Two years ago we were playing on a rundown field in front of 30 people and two dogs.
“Now we’re off to Wembley. It’s remarkable really.
“The scenes we saw after the semi-final, with fans running on the pitch and everyone celebrating, were amazing, I never thought I’d see anything like it.
“I can’t believe I’ll get the chance to sing the national anthem at our country’s stadium.
“We’ve come so far I sometimes can’t believe it - we just never know when we’re beaten.
“This is all down to the hard work of everyone at the club.”
Michael, who has a partner and daughter, helps run the diabetic eye screening clinics at One Life in Hartlepool and Peterlee Community Hospital, as well as one in Stockton.
The service’s programme lead Sue Potts said: “We are all really proud of him.
“Michael has to keep his eye on the ball in this day job – juggling both this and his football duties has not been easy.
“We have tried to help him by allowing him flexible working hours.
“We will all certainly be watching the game on TV and cheering him on.”