Britain’s oldest pitch invader has come forward & revealed crowd lifted him over the barrier so he could go on the field – with his ZIMMERFRAME
Britain’s oldest football pitch invader has come forward and revealed how crowds lifted him over barriers so he could storm the ground – with his ZIMMER FRAME.
Footy-mad Roger Abbott, 76, was filmed on the playing surface shortly after Peter Hartley scored a winner to send his beloved Plymouth Argyle to Wembley.
Viral footage then shows Roger, of Plymouth, Devon, hobbling with his walking frame across the field accompanied by a younger male, a steward and some paramedics.
He even summoned enough energy to raise his arms in celebration as the packed crowd cheered him off with a standing ovation.
An appeal for the ‘mystery’ geriatric invader was put on social media, and Roger has now come forward to confirm it was him.
He said he had been following Plymouth Argyle for more than 50 years and just couldn’t help but join in the celebrations following his team’s 1-0 win over Portsmouth at Home Park.
The victory set up a League Two Wembley play-off final for the Pilgrims on Bank Holiday Monday.
And Roger says he could not contain his excitement when he raided the pitch as the final whistle blew.
He said: “I have been supporting Argyle for 50 years.
“I want to thank a few people.
“When I went to the game on Sunday, people said how did a disabled man get over the barrier? But people lifted me over.
“I want to thank the people in block 14 and 15 because they all helped me onto the pitch and they helped carry me off.”
Roger was diagnosed with motor neurone disease six years ago and his speech and mobility have suffered as a result.
He was helped through the interview by wife Bernadette, 60, and his youngest son Richard, 30, but still attends every game possible and will be at Wembley on Bank Holiday Monday for the final.
Bernadette admitted that since video first emerged lots of people have recognised Roger and commented on his actions.
She said: “All of his football friends helped him, they have been friends for years.
“Everywhere I went people were talking about it, there were people in the supermarket saying ‘who is this man with the walker’?
“I know that when he goes to Argyle that he is well looked after.
“I know that when he goes to Wembley he will be well looked after.”
And after celebrating the semi-final on the pitch, Roger now says he can’t wait for Wembley.
He added: “I have two older brothers, I am the youngest and I have one eight years older (Rodney) and another who is six years older and lives in Lincoln (Kevin).
“There are very few games that all of us can attend together.
“But we are all going to Wembley.”
Roger is such a diehard Argyle fan, he has been known to miss several weddings in order to watch his team in action and would not allow family holidays during the season.
He is also very superstitious one and wears the same outfit every match day.
But his health has deteriorated since he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 70.
His son Richard has said if Argyle can win promotion in the play-offs it will be a fairytale, as he didn’t think he would be able to take Roger to Wembley again.
He said: “His mood can depend on the result that Argyle get, if they win he is easier to get ready for bed and to give food to.
“If they lose it is a bit more hard work.
“A win at Wembley would be massive for him.”
Whether he makes it onto the field of play at Wembley remains to be seen, but those who witnessed his pitch invasion were impressed by his enduring passion.
Matthew Hislop, 38, said: “We could not believe what we were seeing, but the crowd erupted and loved every second of it.
“He did not cover the field very quickly, but he was not being stopped.
“The stewards seemed happy to allow him his moment in the spotlight as the crowd lapped it up.
“I am just glad the old boy made it across. It is quite a feat at that age.
“He was obviously a passionate Plymouth fan and was clearly just loving the result and the fact his team were going to Wembley.
“Good on him I say.”