A football-loving boy from Bexhill has become the youngest person to watch a match at every league ground in the country.
Sebastian Stewart has joined the ‘92 Club’ at the tender age of eight after visiting every stadium in the Premier League and EFL over a period of two years and 363 days.
The St Mary Magdalene Catholic Primary School pupil’s first game was Portsmouth versus Plymouth Argyle on April 16, 2016 and he completed the list with Reading against Brentford on April 13, 2019.
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At Reading, where he enjoyed a hospitality package, Sebastian was presented with a trophy in recognition of what he’d achieved and was featured in the matchday programme.
Sebastian has done it all alongside his dad Shaun, who said: “He’s officially the youngest person ever to have done it, and we’re the only father and son who have done it together.
“We’ve had so many memories, and we’ve met players, managers, Holocaust survivors on the train going to a game or coming back from a game.”
The Portsmouth match was Sebastian’s first ever game and he enjoyed it so much that Shaun took him to his first fixture involving Chelsea - the team they both support - against Liverpool a month later.
Shaun mentioned to his son that he himself had visited all 92 grounds in the past (the last one being Barnet’s old home in 1996) and Sebastian said he would like to do the same.
“I took him to five or six neutral games (matches not involving Chelsea) and thought he would soon get fed up with it,” Shaun continued. “But even during the winter and getting him up at 5 o’clock to go to places like Carlisle, not once did he complain.”
Shaun works as a train driver, and he and his son have travelled to most of the matches by rail, although midweek games have generally been done by road.
There have been one or two hiccups and challenges along the way. Scunthorpe United versus Plymouth was called-off as they arrived at the stadium, but they jumped in a taxi to the station and took the next train to Manchester, and arrived at Oldham Athletic versus Blackpool with a minute to spare.
Sebastian says Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium is his favourite ground and Luton Town’s Kenilworth Road as his worst, while Wigan Athletic and Cardiff City have the best family sections in his opinion.
As if visiting all 92 league grounds wasn’t impressive enough, Shaun and Sebastian have done it while also holding home and away season tickets at Chelsea.
Shaun, 56, says he doesn’t want to know how much the whole thing has cost, but is convinced they have covered more miles than it would take to get to the moon and back.
And their travelling hasn’t just been confined to this country because last season they watched Chelsea play away to Barcelona, AS Roma, Atletico Madrid and even Qarabag in Azerbaijan.
“I’m going to let him enjoy his childhood now,” added Shaun. “At weekends now we’re thinking ‘what are we going to do’? He likes F1 as well so maybe we’ll do a few grand prix.”
Sebastian’s favourite player is Chelsea and Belgium star Eden Hazard, and his favourite sportsperson is five-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton.