“When can Jordan watch the Football with us Dad”
Well im pleased to say that day finally came this weekend. Although it wasnt at Old Trafford.
When the Manchester United Disabled Supporters Liason Officer and the Secretary of MUDSA wrote to us and said we should try watching football at “Stockport, Rochdale or Oldham”. My immediate reaction, was one of disbelief. How could a club suggest that a Fan of 33 years, takes his children to another club.
But Stockport County seeing our twitter campaign were quick to react, and Jon Keighren, Director at Stockport County FC, quickly tweeted me and asked us to pick a match for us to watch together as a family. So this weekend, being Jordans 18th Birthday, and Stockports last Home Match of the Season seemed fitting.
A Can Do Club
Our campaign is supported by fans of Many Clubs, and Stockport Fans are there a plenty. And After visiting the club on Saturday, i can see why. On arrival we were met by security staff at the Car Park enterance who directed us to a Paking spot that had been taped off for us. It even had a sign, with our names on it, which was a really nice touch.
Getting out of the car, we went to the club shop to collect our Tickets, and were Met by Vicky and an young Lady who was also working in the shop. They were both happy to see us, and Vicky Quickly brought out a Presentation bag for Jordan, with a Birthday Card in it signed by all the players. They got him a picture frame, scalf and badges too. They then gave the boys a bag each too, with T Shirts and Scalfs in them, badges and Key Rings.
The kids were already excited, and now they were electric. A county member of staff lead us up to our seating area, and was great with the two younger kids on the way too. Even the wife, who hates football, was smiling. We sat in our seats and got ready for the match. Together as a Family.
Sat down, looking around, what was very clear at Stockport was Family Matters. Kids are the Future. They are the life of a football club, and without getting them involved a club will die. Looking around the ground you can see this is something the club care about. They have lots of initiatives running for kids. They also have been running a free ticket for School Children Scheme. There are Mums and Dads with kids all over the place.
Its a funny thing football, and although it wasnt Manchester United, we all got really stuck into supporting the club. County went down a goal early on. But then there was a Cracking Equaliser, and we all cheered the Goal. (Even the wife). County went on to win the match 2-1.
At the end of the match all the kids ran down to the front and the players walked around the pitch shaking peoples hands doing Hi 5’s with the kids, and lapping up the aplause from the crowd for a hard years work. And there in that moment it hit me. They have this right. The club have a “can do” attitude. This is something Manchester United say they have, yet we were at County as United said that as a family we “cant” sit together. Yet at County they found a way.
Jon came up to meet us at half time, and ill be honest, he is a top fella, a real nice bloke, and i owe him and county alot, because they allowed my kids to enjoy a game together. Jordans first ever match, and seeing the boys together at the football was fantastic for me. To us its about making memories. And the boys got a great Saturday afternoon at the football firmly in there Memory banks thanks to Stockport County.
Thank you Stockport County for a amazing day. Thanks for showing that Football is about Family. Not Money! Thank you for letting all my kids sit together and watch the football. It sounds like such a simple request, watch the football together as a family, and you showed that it needent be difficult to do! We will be back next season.
As for Manchester United, MUDSA and Phil Downs the Manchester United Disabled Liason Officer. I suggest you take your own advice. Go and watch Stockport County. Im sure they will help you put things right at Old Trafford.