A MANSFIELD Town fan has become an internet sensation and sparked a media frenzy worldwide after he was sent off during a football match in Australia - for wearing an intimate piercing.
Aaron Eccleston saw red for a ‘tackle’ of a different kind while playing for his Sunday League side in Melbourne.
The drama unfolded when the referee discovered Aaron was wearing the ‘offending item’ after he was hit in the groin and left needing treatment.
He then gave Aaron his marching orders because the former Meden Vale man could not prove he had removed the piercing.
The bizarre incident was captured by a spectator on the touchline, who then posted the video on various social networking sites - where it has been watched by nearly a million people worldwide.
Aaron (28), who emigrated to Australia last year, says he has been amazed by the reaction, with newspapers and TV and radio stations from around the world clambering to get his story.
Speaking to Chad from his Australian home, Aaron said: “It’s gone pretty mad - I’ve been inundated with emails. It just shows you the power of Twitter.
“There were also 700,000 hits on You Tube - it was one of the most viewed videos on You Tube last week. It’s been in papers all over the world.”
Food scientist Aaron has also had to answer questions about the incident from his parents Tony and Cheryl back home in Meden Vale.
Said the ex-Meden School pupil: “I’m not sure it’s something they want to know themselves, let alone the world. I totally appreciate the embarrassment I’ve caused my parents.
“When I knew (the story) was going to be in the UK, I had to have an awkward conversation with my parents to explain to them what was happening.
“My mum had seen something about it. I told her the story behind it and she saw the funny side. I’m sure she will have something to say about it when I see her next time.”
Aaron had the piercing shortly before he emigrated, nine years after losing a bet with former colleagues in the Royal Navy to have it done.
“I never wanted it done, I made a silly bet and had to go through with it,” he said.
His mum Cheryl said she could not believe how much publicity the incident had received - but said she was still proud of him, especially his achievements at university, in the Royal Navy and now in his current job.
But she added: “I knew all about the bet and I knew he would be the type of person to go through with it, but I will be having a word with him the next time I see him.”
Aaron’s pal and fellow Stags fan Michael Norwood said he was also shocked at the global reaction to the red card.
“One minute Aaron was sharing this amazing sending off with a few friends (online) and then, before we knew it, all kinds of media outlets were carrying the piece,” he said.
Aaron, who keeps up to date with goings on at Field Mill via fans’ online forum Stagsnet and Chad website, is currently setting up his own Stags supporters’ club Down Under.