FA Cup: Rio Ferdinand's body double & the ex-Man City player looking to spend £500

Mat Mitchel-King
Mat Mitchel-King (centre) played in the Football League for Crewe Alexandra and AFC Wimbledon

Rio Ferdinand might have retired from playing 16 months ago but the former Manchester United and England defender's body double is hoping to lead Chesham United on another FA Cup adventure.

Mat Mitchel-King has earned a living rubbing shoulders with Ferdinand, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and other Premier League stars in television adverts and photo shoots. He has even appeared in a Bollywood movie.

On Saturday, the 32-year-old defender is set to swap the glitz and glamour of the modelling world for the FA Cup first qualifying round.

Chesham, who play in the seventh-tier Southern League Premier Division, entertain Saffron Walden Town, who play two leagues below, at The Meadow - one of 116 ties in the famous cup competition taking place this weekend.

"Modelling has allowed me to travel all over the world and meet some of my heroes at the same time," Mitchel-King, a former captain of Crewe Alexandra, told BBC Sport.

"But I love my football too. I captained Histon to the third round of the FA Cup in 2008-09 when we beat Swindon and Leeds before losing to Swansea.

"Hopefully Chesham will have a good run this season."

At 6ft 4in in height, Mitchel-King is slightly taller than Ferdinand, who won six Premier League titles, three League Cup and one Champions League at United.

However, he has a similar build and was used as Ferdinand's body double by a well-known sportswear company for an advertising campaign.

Mitchel-King explained: "People get confused and think you have to look exactly the same. You don't. I did all the stuff from a distance and they filmed Rio for the close up stuff. If there is a six-day shoot lasting 12 hours a day, there's no way a player can be there that long.

"So they bring in body doubles who can be captured on camera from distance.

"I've met Rio. When I played for Crewe I lived in Cheshire and would see him out and about. He'd always acknowledge me.

"You have to be professional on set. You don't ask them for autographs or selfies. It's a strict no-no."

Mitchel-King quit his modelling work for four years while playing in the Football League for Crewe and AFC Wimbledon.

Mat Mitchel-King (right) models sportswear when he is not playing for Chesham United
Mat Mitchel-King (right) models sportswear when he is not playing for Chesham United

"There's no way I could have knocked on the manager's door and asked for five days off so I could go to a shoot. Now I'm back in non-League it's a lot easier."

Recalling his encounter with Manchester United striker Ibrahimovic for an advert, Mitchel-King said: "He was playing in Milan at the time and flew in from Italy while Guy Ritchie directed it.

"It was filmed at Millwall's ground. There was a scene where a defender was supposed to pretend to tackle Zlatan but he went steaming in and left Ibrahimovic in a heap. Zlatan just got up and dusted himself down."

Chesham battled through four qualifying rounds last season to reach the first round where they beat Bristol Rovers 1-0. They lost 4-0 away to League One side Bradford City in the second round.

The Generals have plenty of experience in the shape of former Premier League players Darren Purse, who is in his second spell at Chesham, and Barry Hayles.

Defender Purse, 39, played in the top-flight for Birmingham City and West Brom, while Hayles, 44, was an FA Cup semi-finalist with Fulham in 2002.

'£54m for Kevin de Bruyne? I can't find a £500 player'

Kevin Horlock has been manager of Maldon & Tiptree for just over three months. In that time Manchester City, for whom he played in three different divisions between 1997 and 2003, have spent more than £136m.

"I've not spent a penny. It's not unusual for transfer fees of £500 at this level but I haven't found anyone worth that yet," the former midfielder told BBC Sport.

Horlock scored in an FA Cup fifth-round tie for Swindon Town in 1996. "I remember it well well because it was with my right foot. That didn't happen very often," he added.

On Saturday, the 43-year-old will be in the dugout as eighth-tier Maldon & Tiptree, nicknamed the Jammers and who play in the Isthmian League Division One North, entertain seventh-tier Southern League Premier Division Biggleswade Town in the first qualifying round.

Kevin Horlock (left) celebrates a Manchester City goal with Robbie Fowler and Shaun Wright-Phillips
Kevin Horlock (left) celebrates a Manchester City goal with Robbie Fowler and Shaun Wright-Phillips

"Maldon & Tiptree is a very well run club where things are done properly. They are ambitious. That brings pressure with regards to results, but I'm loving it," added Horlock, who combines his role as a non-League manager with coaching Colchester United's Under-21s.

Despite suffering two relegations with City, Horlock looks back at his time at the club under Frank Clark, Joe Royle and Kevin Keegan with fondness.

Horlock made 232 appearances for City during a six-year spell, scoring 44 goals, including a crucial strike in the famous Division Two play-off final win over Gillingham in 1999.

"I also experienced three promotions but the thing that always struck me about City was the fans," he said. "They stuck with us in huge numbers even when went down to the third-tier.

"City were playing at Maine Road while I was there but I briefly experienced the Etihad Stadium.

"I had a couple of training sessions on there and I was in the squad to play in the first competitive match, a Uefa Cup tie against Total Network Solutions at the start of the 2003-04 season.

"On the morning of the game I was called into Kevin Keegan's office and told West Ham were interested. I'm a West Ham fan so it obviously appealed to me.

"I was up at the Etihad for the Champions League match against Steaua Bucharest last week. My son, Keagan, turned round to me and asked if I had played at the ground.

"I was dying to say yes but the truth is I didn't quite manage it."

Friday night Cup date for new FA chairman

The first of this weekend's FA Cup ties is on Friday when Isthmian League Division One South team South Park entertain their league rivals Dorking Wanderers in front of a VIP guest.

Former Football League chairman Greg Clarke officially takes over from Greg Dyke as Football Association chairman on the day of the tie.

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Clarke, a former Leicester City chairman, starts the day at Wembley Stadium before travelling to South Park's 2,000-capacity King George's Field in Reigate, Surrey, to watch the match.

He will then head to Slovakia ahead of England's World Cup qualifier on Sunday, Sam Allardyce's first match as Three Lions boss.

'Pay what you like' tie

Southern League Premier Division Hitchin Town are allowing fans to "pay what they want" to get into their tie with Biggleswade United on Saturday as part of the annual Non-League Day celebrations.

Set up in 2010 by former BBC Sport journalist James Doe, Non-League Day gives fans of Premier League and Championship sides the chance to watch football at a level they may not be familiar with.

It coincides with the international break so people can see what is happening at a club that might be on their doorstep without missing their favourite team play.

Hitchin will donate 10% of gate receipts to Prostate Cancer UK.

All winners of this weekend's ties will receive £3,000 in prize money.

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