When Essex League striker Billy Texeira applied for a competition aimed at giving amateur players a second shot at glory, little did he know it would lead to a goalscoring Wembley appearance and a trial with a League One club.
But in the space of a few weeks that’s exactly what happened as the fork-lift truck driver beat off competition from more than 2,000 hopefuls to make it into the final shake-up of the Budweiser Open Trials.
The competition was open to amateur footballers aged 25 and over to see if any potential gems had slipped through the net.
You can see the final 32 successful players being put through their paces at the national stadium by team managers Alex McLeish and Steve Clarke – ably assisted by David Ginola and Ray Parlour – on BT Sport 1 this Saturday – including Texeira’s dream double on the hallowed turf.
The 27-year-old Shenfield frontman told BT Sport: “It was amazing - it couldn’t have gone any better. I didn’t dare dream it would go that well.”
Texeira did not think he would even make it off the bench after an indifferent display during the trials at St George’s Park.
“I didn’t have the best afternoon and convinced myself that I was going be on the bench for the Wembley game,” he said.
“I was completely buzzing when I got off the phone"
“To come on at half-time and score two goals and win was just unreal, although to be honest I beat myself up that I didn’t get a hat-trick!”
The game was attended by scouts from several clubs, and on the back of his performance, Texeira has been offered a trial with Yeovil, who were relegated back to League One earlier this month after a season in the Championship.
“They rang me up, my head was all over the place – I didn’t know what to do with myself!” he laughed. “I was completely buzzing when I got off the phone – I didn’t know if I was allowed to ring anyone about it, plaster it all over my Twitter, tattoo it on my forehead!
“It’s crazy – I’ve gone from playing on a park field with one man and his dog watching to potentially having a chance of playing in League One next season.“
Texeira went in for the competition after seeing it advertised during a televised FA Cup match, admitting: “I entered it about three times and badgered people on the phone to make sure I had a place. I just really, really wanted it and obviously everything else went well.”
The player scored 29 goals for Shenfield in the Essex Olympian League this season but admitted it could have been more.
“Last season I scored 42 and I was the top scorer in the county, but because of the trials I missed a few games here and there.”
Texeira will head to the West Country for his Yeovil trial in July, but when asked whether he would miss his job driving the fork-lifts if he was signed up, the colourful striker added: “You’re having a laugh, aren’t you?!”
You can see how Billy got on BT Sport 1 this Saturday from 8.30am. The show will be repeated on BT Sport 2 at 9.30pm on May 19 and 3.30pm on May 21. Or watch on Budweiser’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/budweiseruk