Who is Neil Baldwin? The true story of the Stoke City kit man ‘Nello’ played by Toby Jones in Marvellous


NEIL Baldwin is a former professional clown and Stoke City Football Club kit man.

TONIGHT (July 1) BBC Two is airing it’s award-winning Marvellous again, a biographical drama about Neil Baldwin.

Kenny Ramsay – The Sun Glasgow

Neil Baldwin features in the biographical drama Marvellous[/caption]

Who is Neil Baldwin?

Neil Baldwin is a 74-year-old from Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire.

As a child he had speech therapy after being diagnosed with a learning disability.

Aged 16 he left school to join the oldest circus in England, Sir Robert Fossett’s Circus and performed as ‘Nello’ the clown.

Later he began greeting students at Keele University, where his mother was a cleaner. He wasn’t paid or asked to do this.

After building his friendly reputation at the university he was given life membership of the Students’ Union in 1968, then in 2013 was awarded an honorary degree.

At the time Neil said he felt “adopted by the student body over the last 50 years as something of a mascot for Keele”.

In the 1990s he was made the kit man for Stoke City, and once again was known for lifting the spirits of the players.

Lou Macari was the manager at the time and he was “the best signing I ever made”.

Getty Images – Getty

Neil became a kit man for Stoke City in the 90s[/caption]

In 1993 he played as a substitute in a match for Stoke City against Aston Villa in the final five minutes of a testimonial match.

He has been presented with the Freedom of Stoke-on-Trent and Freedom of Newcastle-under-Lyme, plus Supporter of the Year by Stoke City separately all in 2015.

Where is he now?

In 2015 he published an autobiography titled Marvellous: Neil Baldwin – My Story.

Just last year he was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) as part of the New Year Honours list, for “services to the community”.

In Marvellous he is played by Toby Jones, the award-winning actor who has starred in The Hunger Games, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Doctor Who, and a host of other successful shows and films.

Marvellous is 90 minutes long and first was shown in 2014.

While being about Neil, he actually appears in the TV film too.

It won Best Single Drama in the 2015 British Academy Television Awards, for which Neil collected the award.


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