Leeds teacher faces top-class football opposition

Adam Priestley
Adam Priestley
0
Have your say

It’s being billed as potentially the biggest mismatch in football history.

In one corner there will be Germany, world champions and bristling with superstar names such as Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos and Lukas Podolski.

And in the other will be Gibraltar, whose squad of amateur players includes a fireman, a policeman, a researcher ... and a teacher from Leeds.

Adam Priestley, 25, of Sherburn-in-Elmet, was born in Gibraltar while his dad was stationed in the tiny British colony with the RAF.

A trainee PE teacher at The Morley Academy, Adam normally plays part-time as a striker with Farsley AFC in the Evo-Stik North division.

But since Gibraltar was accepted as the 54th and smallest member of Uefa in 2013, he has also embarked on an unlikely international career.

Adam has so far been restricted to two substitute appearances during a Euro 2016 qualifying campaign that has seen his team conceding 17 goals and scoring none.

Yet that could all change on Friday night when Gibraltar face Germany in front of an expected 50,000 crowd in Nuremberg.

And Adam will have no shortage of support back in Leeds if he does make it onto the pitch.

The Morley Academy associate principal Anne-Marie Garnett said today: “We are all so proud of him.

“Adam is a hugely popular member of staff, he always has an enormous smile on his face and he sees the chance to play against teams like Germany as an incredible, life-enhancing experience.”

Adam himself has been left in no doubt that his colleagues and pupils are rooting for him.

He said: “It is not every day you get to play against the world champions, so it will be an amazing experience – no matter what the result is.

“To play against the calibre of players that Germany have and say I have played against the world champions would be something I never personally thought I’d do.

“I have had a few text messages and phone calls from people to get them tickets and it is all the kids have been talking about.

“They have constantly been saying ‘oh sir, it’s Germany next!’ and they have been reminding me of it all the time.”

Adam, who has been nicknamed ‘Mr Gibraltar’ by his pupils, also said it would be business as usual on Friday, despite the magnitude of the occasion.

He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “There might be some butterflies in the coach on the way, but as soon as warm-up starts, the focus is on the job and the nerves go.”

Alex Newman, partner at Irwin Mitchell in Leeds

Yorkshire’s cities face slowdown as South East prospers, says report