Car park keepie uppie king Andrew Cassidy’s date with Maradona at Dubai's World Freestyle Championships kicked into touch
Emily Dugan is social affairs correspondent for The Independent, i and Independent on Sunday. She was previously a news reporter for The Independent on Sunday. Her investigations into human trafficking have twice been awarded Best Investigative Article at the Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards and her human rights journalism was shortlisted for the Gaby Rado Memorial prize at the 2012 Amnesty Media Awards.
Sunday 28 April 2013
Scoring wonder goals galore in the Premier League this season, Gareth Bale may have thought his claim to be the “Welsh Maradona” was secure. Little did he reckon upon a rival claim from a 20-stone, 50-year-old, unemployed fisherman from Pembrokeshire.
Andrew Cassidy attracted the nickname after his keepy-uppy skills, performed in a Milford Haven car park, were filmed and uploaded to YouTube – leading to organisers of the World Freestyle Championships promising to fly him out to Dubai for an all-expenses-paid trip to their competition.
Yet after a burst of attention around his invitation, Cassidy’s prospects of footballing stardom have foundered after tournament organisers apparently failed to book him on to a flight.
“I was told it was 1 May, so it’s not looking good is it? I’m quite sorry it happened to me because I’m getting in debt and nothing is happening,” said Mr Cassidy. “The pub- licity is nice but it doesn’t put money in your pocket does it?”
Promises that he would be flown out first class, paid £200 a day and be treated as a VIP are looking increasingly unlikely. “I was told I was meant to meet Maradona, but it looks like that’s not happening now,” he said. “Until a contract comes through it’s all talk.”
Organisers told The Independent that a contract with Mr Cassidy had not yet been agreed, saying: “The booking is not really confirmed.”
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