Ratchford: Days like the final make me glad I rejected advances from Premier League giants (From Warrington Guardian)
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Warrington Wolves centre cannot put a price on lifting the Challenge Cup
CHALLENGE Cup wonder with Warrington Wolves rewarded Stefan Ratchford’s decision to turn down an approach from Liverpool Football Club.
And he has revealed that advice from a former England football captain ahead of the game topped off his Wembley preparations before his silverware dreams came true on Saturday.
“You can’t put a price on lifting the cup and having a celebratory beer in the Wembley stands with the squad after the final,” said the 24-year-old former Salford City Reds utility back.
“I had a bit of an opportunity just after I’d signed at Salford to go to Liverpool for a trial and it probably proves right that although I’ve not got the lifestyle of a footballer I made a decision that comes good with weekends like this.”
On cup final eve England and Arsenal legend Tony Adams visited the team’s Luton hotel to present the players with their jerseys.
Adams knows all about big games as a four-times league title victor and three-times FA Cup winner with Arsenal, while he also captained England from centre half during Euro 96.
“He gave us a bit of a talk and he’s obviously a really experienced guy with what he’s done in the England football side,” said Stefan.
“All the guys were a bit starstruck when he turned up, apart from the Aussies who know nothing about football.
“I’m a football fan and grew up watching him on TV so for him to come along and present me with my jersey for the biggest game of my life so far it was a really special moment.”
Saturday night’s celebrations and even the bus trip home were special too.
He said: “We had a function at the hotel with a meal. Simon Moran (Wolves’ owner) is a really generous man and put a few drinks on for us. All the lads stuck together and we had a good time.
“The journey home probably took a little longer than expected but when you looked down the bus and saw the Challenge Cup in the window it just meant we had longer to look at it.”