Prince William’s love affair with the so-called beautiful game has lasted for most of his life, and has seen him serve as the Football Association’s President since 2006. An avid watcher of the game, William has been spotted attending matches of his beloved Aston Villa FC, as well as taking his young son Prince George to enjoy a match, too. His enthusiasm for football even saw William take in a match for a friend’s stag do in 2010 – a memorable night with his close pals which was recounted in hilarious detail by one of the footballers on the pitch that day.
Luke Varney was up-front for Blackpool that day, as his Tangerines took on Wolverhampton Wanders at the seaside town’s Bloomfield Road stadium, in a vital match for his team in their bid to secure safety in the Premier League.
Blackpool had stunned many footballing experts by earning their place in the top division, after beating Cardiff City 3-2 at Wembley in the Championship Play-off Final a few months earlier.
And while being in the Premier League meant some of the world’s best players visited Blackpool, with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United coming to Bloomfield Road throughout the season, fans were left stunned when William attended their match in November 2010.
Varney discussed his role in William’s friend’s stag do when he spoke on the Under The Cosh podcast earlier this week (which you can listen to in this article below). He told the show: “We had Wolves at our home and I’ll never forget. I used to jump quite high and I got a few headers, so I was on the left wing.
“So before we started, the wife rang me and said the usual spot wasn’t there because Prince William is on a stag do in Blackpool. I swear. I said, ‘Where’s he going, I’m coming!’. So I looked up and they’re all sat in that corner.”
He continued: “So I thought, ‘Fair play… I better turn up today hadn’t I!’ So the game started and I am winning all the headers against Kevin Foley, the right-back, quite a small lad. So I won every header, I was bullying him in the air.
“I actually played with him a few years later at Ipswich, and so the next ball that came down he let me control it and so I chested it, and f*****g let it rip, and this ball flew into the far, top corner… so I’ve literally whacked it through the far bin.”
Varney’s third-minute goal helped set Blackpool up for a vital 2-1 win against their relegation rivals, though unfortunately for the Seasiders their time in the Premier League was cruelly ended as they succumbed to the drop in May the following year.
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William told the show: “Well I can’t vouch for me eyeing someone up in the loo, it sounds really quite awkward. But yes, I was at a Blackpool game on a stag do. I wasn’t in fancy dress – it wasn’t my stag do. We had a good day.”
Blackpool’s manager Ian Holloway even got in on the action and came out to speak to the group at half-time, William recalled. He said: “I was like, ‘Why aren’t you doing a team talk and instead you’re talking to a stag do’.
“He was like, ‘No point doing a frickin’ team talk, they’re not listening anyway’. It was a good game and we went in the theme park in the afternoon, which, after you’ve had a few beers on a stag do, is not pretty.”
William’s own stag was arranged by his best man Prince Harry, who in March 2011 took him and his friends down to Hartland Abbey, a mansion in Devon. The gang of 20 friends went surfing, clay pigeon shooting as well as enjoying a series of drinking games.