A 91-YEAR-OLD lifelong fan of Manchester City has been recalling past heroes and events that shaped the club’s history after attending his first game in decades.
Jack Evans remembers watching pre-WW2 matches with his father in the 1930s and seeing his favourite players like Peter Doherty and Frank Swift.
He also recalled Manchester United sharing City’s Maine Road stadium after the Manchester Blitz in 1940, and the final match before the club moved to the City of Manchester Stadium in 2003.
The memories came flooding back to Jack, who lives at Lever Edge Care Home, on Lever Edge Lane, Great Lever, after he was gifted two tickets to watch City’s two-nil defeat of Nottingham Forest at the weekend.
The care home’s head of domestics, Heidi Armstrong, discovered Jack’s love of Man City when she was cleaning his room.
She said: “I asked Jack about his favourite football team and he said Manchester City. He then started telling me about his favourite players and attending matches with his dad.”
Jack said: “I remember everything about Man City, even from when I was a child. I had some amazing times at those games. I’ve been a lifelong fan.
“My favourite players were Peter Doherty, the club’s star striker, and keeper Frank Swift, who played in the late 30s and early 40s.
“I remember when Man United and Man City shared the stadium in the 1940s as Old Trafford had been damaged in the blitz. It was amazing to see them in the same stadium.
“I remember the final match at Maine Road football stadium, which was my favourite.”
Jack told Heidi he would love to visit Etihad Stadium one day as he’d never seen his favourite team play there, so she went about trying to make his dream come true.
Heidi asked the care home’s activities coordinator, Manny Patel, and senior carer Mike Adamson, to email the club to ask about complementary tickets.
Heidi’s son, Frankie, heard about his mother’s mission to get Jack tickets to a match and gave him his club hat. He said: “He’ll need it if he ever goes to see them.”
To everyone’s surprise, the club responded to their email within a week with the offer of two tickets to the Nottingham Forest game, and the stage was set to surprise Jack.
On the morning of the game, Manny went into Jack’s room and woke him with the news. She said: “Jack couldn’t believe it. He was over the moon.”
Jack was also gifted two Man City football shirts to commemorate the day, one by night staff senior carer Tracey Hewitt and her husband, who are also Man City Fans, and the other by Jack’s family.
Manny added: “He happily got himself ready for the day, having a shave and getting his new shirt on.”
When Heidi got to the care home to pick Jack up for the game wearing her own Man City shirt she said: “Oh, we look like twins, Jack.”
She added: “Jack was overjoyed when we got to the stadium. We went in and he couldn’t believe how big it was. He was loving every minute of it, enjoying a pie while watching the stadium fill up.
“We both joined in the chants and cheering the team to a two-nil win over Forest. We both had the biggest smiles on our faces on the way back. It really was a day to remember.”
Lisa Martin, home manager at Lever Edge Care Home, said: “At 91 years of age, his recollection of his favourite team is incredible, remembering watching matches with his dad in the 1930s and 40s and later games at the now gone Maine Road stadium.
“We all want to say a massive thank you to Manchester City for sending tickets to Jack. It was an amazing surprise for him and really meant the world.”