New York soccer coach plays PNE name game for baby son

Matt poses in PNE shirt after the birth of his first child Stella, now two.
Matt poses in PNE shirt after the birth of his first child Stella, now two.

Preston superfan Matt Higgins chose gender reveal day to announce his unborn son would be named after a North End player.

Trouble is the dad-to-be forgot to tell his wife.

Matt and wife Daniela are expecting a son in July.

Matt and wife Daniela are expecting a son in July.

Now the US-based soccer coach reckons he’ll be on washing up duty for months after Daniela found out on social media.

“To be fair she was laughing when she saw all the fuss it had caused,” said Matt who helps run the New York Northenders fans group in a bar in Manhattan.

“She’s pretty cool about most things and she’s been very good about it.”

Matt, 34, was over the moon when the couple were told their two-year-old daughter Stella will be getting a little brother in July.

The news came last Wednesday when in-form PNE were playing at Middlesbrough.

So in the heat of the moment he took to Twitter and pledged that if North End won he would name his boy after the scorer of the winning goal.

Nine minutes from time up popped substitute Jayden Stockley to seal victory and Matt, watching with other Preston fans in the Football Factory, opposite the Empire State Building in West 33rd Street, confessed: “It’s got a nice ring to it - Jayden Higgins.

"Earlier I’d put it on Twitter what I was going to do and it just went crazy. I suppose now there’s no getting away from it. We’ll have to get the name in there somewhere.”

Stockley, who arrived at Preston in January, spoke to Matt via Facetime this week and admitted: “I’m honoured. It’s absolutely brilliant.”

PNE’s incredible form of late played a big part in Matt getting carried away after the big reveal.

“We’re flying,” he said. “I’m in dreamland. It’s been a remarkable turn-around. I think Alex (Neil) has done an absolutely amazing job.

“There’s a feel-good factor now. And to be on the cusp of the play-offs to get into the Premier League is incredible.

“I just hope the club supports the team and sells out these last four home games.”

Matt will be watching the run-in with other PNE fans in Manhattan.

With Jayden expected in late July, will he be over for the play-offs? “I’ll definitely be there for the final.’