A dream has cometrue for huge Chelsea fan Sam Gillam when he led his heroes out at Stamford Bridge – just like his father did in the 1970s.

The nine-year-old had the honour of being a mascot for one of the Blues’ tastiest fixtures of the season, the west London derby with fierce rivals Fulham on Saturday, after winning a Chronicle competition.

Sam followed in the footsteps of his dad Mike, who was a ballboy for a match against Arsenal in 1977, sprinting on to the Stamford Bridge pitch with stars such as Peter Osgood and Ron Harris.

Sam, who went to his first Blues match as a four-year-old and dreams of being a football commentator, said the experience was ‘once in a lifetime’.

“Walking out in front of all of those people was amazing,” he beamed. “To stand near my heroes was the best thing. I was so excited, I woke up really early – I’m a big big fan and it was definitely the best day ever.”

Mike Gillam leads Chelsea out in 1977
Mike Gillam leads Chelsea out in 1977
 

Proud Mike said: “I can remember my first ever game, I was the first out of the tunnel to a 60,000 crowd – I can still feel the goose bumps and euphoria now, so to see Sam run out as well was a really great moment for the family.

“I got quite emotional seeing our little boy out there leading from the front and following in my footsteps on to the hallowed Chelsea pitch. As a passionate lifelong fan, it is a big part of mine and Sam’s life, and the whole day was topped off with three points. It was an unforgettable father-and-son experience.”

Despite Chelsea’s 2-0 victory, Sam was not totally impressed with the performance, adding: “We need to find of a more killer instinct.”

Sam got his opportunity as part of Barclays’ new campaign to say thank you to all the fans, community heroes, players and managers who do so much to make the game what it is.