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What Happened To Jake Nickless: The Mascot Who Pranked Steven Gerrard In The Tunnel

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What Happened To Jake Nickless: The Mascot Who Pranked Steven Gerrard In The Tunnel

It's a moment that remains etched in Steven Gerrard's memory.

In his 2009 autobiography 'My Captains Book' the former Liverpool captain claims it was the only time he smiled in the tunnel before kick-off. "If it was an adult I would have wanted to wring their neck!"

The date was February 5, 2006 and all eyes were on reigning Premier League champions Chelsea as they came up against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

Jose Mourinho's side were huge favourites for the clash and as expected, the Blues would go 15 points clear in the title race after goals from William Gallas and Hernan Crespo secured a 2-0 win.

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But for the millions watching at home, this clash will forever be remembered as the day a cheeky blue-haired mascot mugged off one of the world's best players.

A day Jake Nickless will never forget. Image: Sky Sports
A day Jake Nickless will never forget. Image: Sky Sports

It all began in the tunnel ahead of kick-off.

Led by captain John Terry, the home side walked out of the dressing room first ahead of the Super Sunday clash and tensions were high.

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Gerrard soon followed and, as he walked down the famous stairs, Chelsea fan Jake Nickless extended his arm to greet the player.

But moments later, in a soon-to-be viral moment, a 5-year-old Nickless left the England international hanging in mid-air.

Gerrard laughed off the incident and later claimed that Chelsea captain Terry wasn't happy with what happened in the tunnel that day, but what about Jake's side of the story?

"I remember my dad putting me up to it," former Chelsea mascot Jake told SPORTbible, 15 years after the incident.

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"I kept saying I wasn't going to do it and I think he eventually believed it, so he stopped.

"But in the moment I was just excited and thought why not. I knew the game was also on TV and loads of people were watching, so I just provided a bit of entertainment."

The Liverpool captain later revealed he saw the funny side of it in his autobiography, and so did a number of other Chelsea players, according to Jake, who is now 20-years-old.

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"Me and Gerrard actually didn't speak at all, All I said was "Gerrard!" to get his attention.

"I remember Claude Makelele and Michael Essien laughing as it happened, and John Terry gave me a pat on the head afterwards, when I walked back to hold his hand.

"I think everyone found it funny...apart from Stevie G."

Footage of Jake pranking Gerrard would eventually make its way into the mainstream media and because of all the attention, he was forced to leave school early the following afternoon.

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"The next day the school and my mum were getting phone calls asking for interviews from newspapers," he said.

"She had to come and pick me up for a half day to go home it was all a bit crazy.

"The parents from school wanted pictures so that people believed it was actually me."

The young mascot made back page news. Image: Daily Star
The young mascot made back page news. Image: Daily Star

It turns out the story of Jake Nickless in football isn't over just yet, either.

Last year, the 20-year-old was trying to make a name for himself professionally after spending time at National League South side Dulwich Hamlet.

"I am currently trying to break in to the pro game myself," he told us in 2019.

"I've played for numerous teams at good levels, and recently captained The Tonsser All Star team; an up and coming app for players who haven't been signed yet.

"So hopefully my chance is coming very soon."

Just months later and Nickless' big break came when former Billericay Town manager Jamie O'Hara signed him up after attending a trial at the Essex-based club.

He penned a contract in August and has since played a handful of games for The Blues.

"He's a good little player," said the former Tottenham midfielder. "He's decent, left footed and can score a goal.

"It's mad to think he was so small, it feels like yesterday. I remember laughing myself at it.

"I put it on our group chat and said boys get on this! That lad on trial with us, that's him. They were having a giggle about it."

"They all remember it as an iconic moment in the Premier League but I don't think Gerrard will be coming down to watch us that's for sure!"




Nickless says he still attends Chelsea games, both home and away, and his plans for the future include playing football at "the highest level possible".

One day, he wants a young mascot to pull a little trick on him in the tunnel so watch this space.

Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports/Billericay Town

Topics: John Terry, Football News, Chelsea, Football, Funny, Premier League, Steven Gerrard, mascot

Jack Kenmare
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