English Premiership

Man City led out by 102-year-old supporter

2018-09-15 23:20
Vera Cohen
Lifelong Manchester City fan Vera Cohen (AP)

Manchester - Being a football team mascot is a role usually associated with young children but Manchester City were led out by a 102-year-old supporter ahead of their 3-0 victory at home to Fulham on Saturday.

City had only been in existence for 22 years, World War One was still two years from its conclusion and King George V was on the British throne when lifelong fan Vera Cohen was born.

And she received a rapturous welcome from supporters at the Etihad Stadium after being asked to lead out the reigning Premier League champions, along with her 97-year-old sister Olga Halon.

City manager Pep Guardiola made a point of greeting his mascot with an embrace as she came off the field and took time out of his pre-match preparations to chat briefly with Vera, who has been a City supporter for 85 years and still attends games with Olga, son Danny and son-in-law Roger.

"Pep said hello to me and I said thank you for all you've done for this team," Vera told the BBC.

"Things used to be very different from how they are today. They didn't have a scoreboard when I first came - a man used to come around with a blackboard with the score on it.

"Pep is amazing. What he's done to this team. There's something about him which brings the best out in the players. I hope he stays forever!"

Despite Vera's impressive efforts, it appears she is not able to claim to be the oldest mascot used in any of the four professional English leagues in recent years - that honour going to Preston North End supporter Bernard Jones who led out the second-tier Championship team at the age of 105 last season.

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Saturday, 24 November 2018
Fulham v Southampton, Craven Cottage 17:00
Everton v Cardiff City, Goodison Park 17:00
West Ham United v Manchester City, London Stadium 17:00
Manchester United v Crystal Palace, Old Trafford 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Leicester City, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
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