WHEN Everton star Phil Jagielka scored the winning penalty against Manchester Utd at Wembley on Sunday, it was a ‘bitter-sweet’ moment for members of his extended family!
The defender’s uncle, Winnington Park Hockey Club stalwart Rick Jagielka and his family were watching the FA Cup semi-final at home in Green Park – cheering on the men in red!
But they were unable to suppress their pride in the England international, who fired The Toffees into their first Cup final since 1995.
Cousin Andrew, 32, said: “Phil himself is a big United fan – most of our family are – so it was bittersweet for us. But we’re all really proud of him.”
Phil’s dad Jan used to live in Weaverham and the 26-yearold remains a popular figure in Mid Cheshire.
Kenny Sweeney of the Mid Cheshire Everton Supporters Club, which meets at the Greenbank pub, told The Chronicle: “Phil’s just awesome. We couldn’t wish for a better player or a better man. He’s an absolute credit to the club and to his family.
“He came down to one of our meetings earlier this year and stayed for an hour and a half talking to supporters and signing autographs for the kids.
“He’s an inspiration to everyone and he’s everything a footballer should be. He’s been our player of the year.
“He’s a fantastic ambassador for our great club, and we all love him.”
The penalty hero, who lives at Knutsford, told our sister paper, The Liverpool Echo: “Just before I started to walk up (team-mate) James Vaughan shouted to me ‘fire us into the final Jags’ – and from that point I knew where I was going to put the ball.
“If the goalkeeper had dived and saved it, I’d have probably ended up crying but thankfully it went in. We want to go and win the Cup now.”