Jake Nickless rose to fame aged just five years old when he humiliated Steven Gerrard in the Stamford Bridge tunnel. In the incident that happened 18 years ago on Thursday, Nickless went to give an unsuspecting Gerrard a handshake before Chelsea faced Liverpool in a crunch Premier League clash.
The youngster, seen in the viral video sporting spray-dyed blue hair, extends his hand to the Liverpool captain. Gerrard goes to give him a high-five but Nickless is too quick, placing the end of the thumb on his nose and wagging his fingers.
England international Gerrard later admitted that had an adult performed the prank, he would have “wanted to wring their neck”. However, he confessed that it was the only time he had smiled in the tunnel before a match.
John Terry gave Nickless a pat on the head and other Chelsea players are seen laughing in the clip, which has been viewed millions of times on social media. However, fans may not know that the now-24-year-old carved a non-league career for himself and impressed former Tottenham midfielder Jamie O’Hara.
In 2020, Nickless signed for Billericay Town, who were then managed by O’Hara. After sharing the clip of Nickless as a mascot on social media, the ex-Premier League player said: “He’s a good little player. He’s decent, left-footed and can score a goal.”
Nickless joked in an interview with Sky Sports that he had wanted to keep his backstory quiet to avoid too much attention.
“I can’t really remember that much about it because I was only five at the time. Looking back I don’t really like to speak about it to be honest and I keep quiet about it really.
“When I saw Jamie O’Hara tweet about it the other day I thought oh god because then everyone is like, ‘oh you’re him, you’re him!’ It’s one of those things and it was just a laugh when I was kid.
“I can’t believe people still mention it really but it would be nice to make my own name and be remembered for that rather than what happened back then.”