England football manager Roy Hodgson spotted in Wimborne
THERE was great excitement among staff and customers at a Wimborne café on Friday when England football manager Roy Hodgson and his wife dropped in for coffee.
The couple had been enjoying a day out on the south coast before Hodgson went to watch Spurs play Chelsea in London the following day.
As customers and staff at Costa Coffee in Wimborne Square speculated on whether the visitor really was the England boss or just a very good look-alike, one staff member phoned colleague Meg Stacy, who had finished her shift an hour earlier and was now back home in Ferndown.
“He phoned just after 5pm telling me Roy Hodgson was there,” said Meg, of Ameysford Road.
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“I didn’t believe him at first – I thought it was a wind-up, as that’s the sort of thing he would do. But he convinced me and said if I wanted to see Roy I’d have to come quickly.”
Meg, who describes herself as a “massive” England and Southampton fan, hastily grabbed her Rickie Lambert replica England shirt and drove back to Wimborne.
What happened next was almost as much of a Roy of the Rovers story for Meg as was Saints star Lambert’s England debut in August – he scored with his first touch.
“I went up to Roy and said, ‘Are you Roy Hodgson?” said Meg. “Will you take Rickie to Rio next year [for the World Cup]?’
“He replied, ‘That would be nice, wouldn’t it?’
“He signed the shirt ‘To Meg’ but then I felt a bit guilty as everyone else started piling in.”
The others included colleagues Niall Snook, 18, and 17-year-old Ollie Board, who both posed for photos with the England manager.
“He was very nice. I said sorry for the hysteria and he said it wasn’t a problem,” said Niall.
Ollie added: “I said it was nice to meet him and he was doing a good job [as England manager]. He said, ‘Thank you very much.’ He was a really nice bloke. He could have said go away but he was really polite.”
Whether Ollie is right about Hodgson doing a good job will be clearer next week, when England play Montenegro and Poland and need to beat both to ensure a trip to next year’s World Cup in Brazil.
Meg, who has previously served former Liverpool and Scotland captain Graeme Souness at Costa, already has a ticket for the Montenegro match – and is hatching a plan to get Lambert to sign the back of the shirt that has Hodgson’s signature on the front.
Hodgson is the latest of many celebrities to sample Wimborne’s culinary delights.
Prime Minister David Cameron took his family to the Tickled Pig in West Borough last year.
The King’s Head’s more notable past visitors include another, Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who spent a night there in 1982, and actor Patrick Stewart, who played Jean Luc Picard in Startrek and treated hotel customers to an impromptu saxophone recital.