A year ago today, on a cloudy morning in Rhydypennau, a small village four miles north of Aberystwyth, Wales, a game involving Bow Street Magpies and Llanilar FC in the Cambrian Tyres Junior League would provide one of the most watched clips of 2018.
With over 100 millions views in the space of a few days, eight-year-old goalkeeper Osian Hatfield became an internet sensation.
The youngster was so big that some of the world’s biggest names, including Hollywood actor Will Smith, shared the video. “Sometimes kid’s just need a little push to succeed.” Smith wrote.
Phil Hatfield, Osain’s father and a committee member at Bow Street Juniors, can recount the story like it was yesterday – and for good reason.
He was watching the U8’s fixture from the sidelines at Penweddig’s playing field in Llanbadarn alongside his wife, like a normal Saturday morning in the Welsh countryside, when he noticed his son needed some encouragement.
“He just wasn’t concentrating,” Phil told SPORTbible. “So I decided to go behind the goal to try and get him to focus.”
The ever-supportive father made the short trip along the touchline to visit his preoccupied son behind the goal to try and give that boost of confidence to see out a 2-0 lead.
But an incident seconds later would leave manager Amlyn Ifans, and the 20 parents in attendance that day, in fits of laughter.
Llanilar FC’s number eight won possession in the final third, looked up and spotted an unaware Osian off his line.
That’s right – he was too busy chatting to his dad.
“I tried to tell him to concentrate,” Phil told us. “Then he walked over to talk to me and in a bit of a panic, I gave him a nudge to try and get him back in the net, but he tripped over his feet.”
The young goalkeeper was left in a heap on the ground, the opposition took advantage and made it 2-1 as Osian looked around in a state of confusion.
Phil turned away in disgust, throwing his arms in the air, as those in attendance couldn’t help but laugh.
Bow Street Magpies coach Amlyn Ifans didn’t even see the goal because he was “bent over laughing” at the comical incident.
“It wasn’t out of the coaching manual but it was perfect timing.” he said. “After speaking to the parents they saw the funny side of it and knowing that Osian was quite happy, we’ve all had a good laugh.”
Llanilar FC went on to equalise late in the game and both teams left Penweddig’s famous ground with a point, but it was a goalkeeping disaster-class from a now-famous young goalkeeper that grabbed the headlines.
Despite being initially “embarrassed” by the incident, Osian eventually grew fond on the clip when he seen a number of online publications cover his ‘save’.
“He saw it more and more, and then it went up on SPORTbible on the Thursday night.” Hatfield told us. “In the space of an hour, the newspapers were contacting me for comment. It went mental.”
The next few days would be a whirlwind for Hatfield and his son.
Former Everton and Wales goalkeeper Neville Southall offered some advice for the young shot-stopper while Hollywood Actor Smith helped the video gain a further 30 million views.
“Chris, who originally put the video up, couldn’t do any work that day because he was getting so many calls.” Phil said. “He then forwarded them onto me, and I spoke to the BBC after the Welsh FA got in touch.
“They had to get involved but they saw the funny side and took it no further.”
Back when the video was going viral, a spokesperson for the Football Association of Wales said that while the video had been received positively by the public, the governing body was keen to maintain a “sage and enjoyable environment.”
“While we appreciate that this video has gone viral and that many find it humorous, as a governing body we promote a sage and enjoyable environment for children of all ages to play football,” they wrote in a statement.
“The FAW has a safeguarding policy in place to reflect this, part of which is a Code of Conduct for parents, guardians and spectators. We’re duty bound to request observations from the club in relation to this matter.”
Things were eventually cleared up between both parties and a year on, the entertaining clip still lives long in the memory.
You will be happy to know that Osian still plays for local side Bow Street Magpies and “really enjoys his football” but after a short spell in between the sticks, the youngster decided it was time to take the gloves off and pursue a more attacking role in the team.
“He doesn’t play in goal anymore.” confirmed his father Phil. “He still plays football every week for the same team but just realised goalkeeping is not for him. He is getting a lot better. He’s just wasn’t quite the best in goal.”
Phil has been recognised on a number of occasions since that memorable day in Llanbadarn, including the time he was away with work in a meeting last year when he was spotted on a night out in Woucester.
And Osian is still aiming to improve on the pitch.