Teams representing AFC Bournemouth and Bolton Wanderers face each other on Saturday afternoon in a bid to lift The Football League Kids Cup Championship trophy.
More than 12,000 children set out on the 'Road to Wembley' earlier this season as part of The Football League Kids Cup. Today sees the culmination of the competition as 16 of those young players get to experience walking out at Wembley to take part in the national final.
Aiming to make the famous walk up the Wembley steps to lift the trophy this afternoon will be teams from AFC Bournemouth and Bolton Wanderers. The Cherries are represented by St James' CE Primary School, while Bolton School earned the honour of representing Wanderers.
Both of today's finalists have benefitted from the experience of former professionals in their preparations, with Cherries legend Steve Fletcher having given coaching to the St James' team, and the Bolton School side's teacher being former Manchester United and England defender Mike Duxbury.
The Football League Kids Cup is a national 6-a-side competition for children aged Under 11. The road to Wembley for the childrecn started with them competing alongside over 1,600 other school sides in a bid to become one of the 72 teams that earned the right to represent their local Football League club in the competition and progress to the Regional Finals.
In the Southern Final, hosted by Reading, the St James' team progressed from a group that saw them face Watford, Leicester City and Millwall. Knockout stage victories against Brighton & Hove Albion and Watford followed to set up a final tie against hosts Reading. It needed a penalty shootout to separate the teams, with the AFC Bournemouth side winning 2-0.
St James' teacher and team manager Alastair Brown said "Ever since, we have been riding a wave of excitement, with local press, radio and even Sky cameras coming into school, culminating with an appearance on Soccer AM. We are here today, privileged, to get the opportunity that not many people get, playing on the hallowed turf at Wembley, before thousands of fans.
"A big well done to the team, we are so proud of you!"
AFC Bournemouth are on course for a double this season having already claimed the Football League Girls Cup trophy back in March.
Bolton Wanderers hosted the Northern Finals themselves, and progressed from their group alongside Burnley having seen off Huddersfield Town and Wigan Athletic. Big wins against Sheffield Wednesday and Doncaster Rovers saw them seal a place in the final against Burnley. In a closely fought game, the Bolton School team ran out 2-0 winners.
Teacher Mike Duxbury, who himself won the FA Cup at Wembley in his time at Manchester United, said, "We were more than happy just to be in the regional finals, so to then go on and win them was unbelievable.
"The boys are so excited about the trip to Wembley and rightly so. To be able to get the chance to actually play on the surface is for most a once in a lifetime experience and one I'm sure that we will all cherish. Whatever the outcome I know it will be a day to remember."
As part of their prize for reaching the Kids Cup Final, both teams have received new kits from Football League partners Mitre, and will be treated to a special behind the scenes tour of Wembley before taking to the hallowed turf for the Final.
For more information about The Football League's Kids Cup visit www.football-league.co.uk.
AFC Bournemouth - St James' CE Primary School
Miles Bartram (GK)
Lyle Simpson (captain)
Alastair Brown (Teacher)
Tom Smith (Teacher)
Steve Cuss (club coach)
Nick Clark (club coach)
Bolton Wanderers - Bolton School
Jensen Myerscough (Captain) (GK)
Mike Duxbury (Teacher)
A Woodhead (Teacher)
Katie Bent (club coach)
Jayne Jackson (club coach)
Football League Kids Cup Past Winners (Championship):
2012/13 - Huddersfield Town
2011/12 - Leicester City
2010/11 - Leeds United
2009/10 - Leicester City
2008/09 - Doncaster Rovers
2007/08 - Barnsley & Cardiff City (joint winners)
2006/07 - Crystal Palace