Back in 1980s Fleetwood, a young lad known as Alfie snuck through gaps in the fence to cheer on his local football team.
While he was a rubbish goalie – he recalls letting in 27 goals in one childhood match – the young member of the Cod Army was a ‘great supporter though’.
Fast forward 30-plus years, and little Alfie is now an internationally renowned singer, who can pack out theatres, concert halls and arenas the world over.
But next summer, for the first time in almost a decade, he will play a one-off Homecoming show at Fleetwood Town Football Club’s Highbury ground, as revealed in the Gazette on Monday.
If enough people turn up, he might just pay back the gate fees he owes from all those years ago.
Alfie’s ‘thrilled, excited and nervous’ for the gig which will be the first of its kind at Highbury – and the biggest night the town’s ever seen with a 9,000 capacity crowd.
“It’s going to be so much fun,” he said. “It is a bit surreal to be honest.
“I never thought I would get the chance to play here.
“When I suggested it, putting on a concert, they came forward and said ‘why the hell not?’ and it’s materialised really fast.
“I’m really, really excited. I’m going to make sure the show is right, it’s rehearsed well and is a brilliant night.
“It’s going to be a big moment to really entertain the community, my family and friends as well.”
It’s safe to say Alfie’s already secured his place in Port history thanks to his musical successes – starring in Les Miserables on the West End and Broadway as well as huge album sales figures. He received the honour of a blue heritage plaque in his name at the Marine Hall this summer.
But, in case there ever was any doubt, the show on June 2 will seal the deal.
“It’s the first concert at Highbury and the biggest concert Fleetwood has ever seen,” he said. “I’m hoping we can sell it out, especially with the donations to Trinity Hospice.
“As well as being excited, I feel like I’ve got a huge responsibility on my shoulders that it’s a success and people go home happy.
“I remember standing watching at a game last season and thinking how it would be playing here, envisioning the pitch full of people and being heckled by my family.”
Former Cardinal Allen Catholic High School pupil Alfie was at the club on Monday following the show announcement, having been back home at the weekend for work and pleasure.
With musical collaborator and close friend Michael Ball, Alfie was part of Strictly Come Dancing’s bumper Blackpool Tower Ballroom special, a dazzling version of New York, New York on Sunday night’s results show adding an extra special local touch to proceedings.
“I have done Strictly six or seven times, always at the studio though,” he said. “But to be the guest artists at Blackpool, which for everyone in the production team is a highlight, was pretty cool.
“You’re pretty much in and out on that show, I could have stayed and watched a bit, but when I have time off I do like to see family.”
Alfie and Michael have been almost inseparable for the past year or so, recording and releasing two albums – Together and the recent number one follow up Together Again. They also toured theatres last winter, did a series of outdoor summer shows and have a new tour starting next week.
But at Homecoming, Alfie will be going solo once more.
“It’s nice to have a mate by your side, it does make a difference,” he said.
“It has been a while since I have been out on my own, so it will be a bit of a strange one. But of course I did it before Michael – and if he wants to do a guest appearance I might get him to stack the chairs after.
“There will be a support – if anyone wants to do that, let me know – but it will be a good two hours of me.”
The Highbury show will be something of a local affair.
It will be produced by Cuffe and Taylor and raise money for Trinity Hospice, with £2 from every ticket sold being donated to the charity.
“Cuffe and Taylor are a wonderful company,” Alfie said.
“They did myself and Michael’s summer tour last year so we have a good relationship with them. You can’t get any better than these guys and they’re local too which all adds to it.
“And Trinity are so close to my heart, I’ve supported them since my dad passed away. Whatever I can do for them, I always take the opportunity as they work so hard for the community.”
Alfie is promising fans at the Highbury show an ‘exclusive’ taster of tracks from a new solo album which is planned for 2018, as well as his stage favourites and some more rocky numbers.
Although he’s achieved great acclaim around the world, dividing his time between Utah, USA, and London, the 44-year-old’s enthusiasm for this show cannot be hidden.
“I’m proud to be playing on the field for a club I have seen grow over the years,” he said. “My career in has done pretty well and these guys have done amazing.
“I’m proud to call myself part of the Cod Army and proud to celebrate their success.
“I’m proud to be able to represent Fleetwood, Fleetwood Town Football Club, and the fact they have welcomed me to the ground is such an honour and I hope it won’t be the last time.
“I’d like it to be a regular thing.”
* Gazette readers can access priority pre-sale tickets from 9am on Thursday. General sale opens 9am Friday from www.ticketmaster.co.uk. Tickets cost from £30.