Robbie Hitch, a seven-year-old schoolboy who attends Oakfield Primary School, had the honour of leading out his Linfield heroes in their recent County Antrim Shield semi-final match against Carrick Rangers.
Robbie is the fourth generation of fanatical Linfield fans from the McCoubrey family who live in Carrickfergus. He attends every match with his great-grandfather, Andy McCoubrey, and uncle Drew McCoubrey and has held a season ticket for his Windsor Park club since birth.
Great-grandfather Andy told the Times: “I’m proud to say that my great grandson Robbie is a Blueman like myself and his uncle Drew, but if anything Robbie is more fanatical than we are - and that’s saying something!”
“I love having him at the games with me as my eyesight isn’t what it used to be so Robbie provides me with a running commentary.
“He’s a good little footballer himself as he regularly plays for Whitehead Eagles and scores plenty of goals for them and his knowledge of the game is frightening for one so young. Who knows, maybe one day he could actually take the place of his favourite player Andrew Waterworth and leading the team out?
“From a family perspective, I have two other great grandsons Lucas and Alex who are cousins of Robbie who are coming up behind him, so we’ll maybe need to look at hiring a McCoubrey bus to the games!
“The family connection to Linfield FC goes deeper than the local family connection as Robbie’s great uncle is former chairman Billy McCoubrey who sadly passed away last year.
“For Robbie to have led Linfield out against his hometown team, it was a night he’ll never forget.”