West Bromwich Albion (WBA) fans have not had the best of seasons it’s fair to say, but we here at SCF were able to give one of those fans the chance to not only watch a match with all the VIP treatments but also gave him the chance to meet one of the stars of the team, and get his shirt as well!
Connor Howell is one of the bravest 16 year olds you are ever likely to meet. Born with a rare genetic condition called Melas Syndrome, he faces daily challenges but does so with an amazing spirit.
Having been referred to us by Birmingham Children's Hospital we felt Connor was more than deserving to accompany Charity Director Junior McDougald at the Hawthorns Stadium to watch his beloved West Brom face Swansea City in a relegation crunch match on 7th April, he was also able to bring his dad Phil along for the game!
Whilst the team didn't get the 3 points they so desperately would have wanted, (the scoreline at full time was 1-1) Connor still had a great day that started with a pre-match meal in the Cyrille Regis suite and ended with him being allowed in to the players lounge where he met goalscorer Jay Rodriguez and was given his shirt, that Jay kindly singed for him!
"Thank you for everything you've done for us today, it's been fantastic"
Not only did Connor meet Jay, but he and Phil also got to meet Brendon Batson, a true living legend! Brendon is one of 'The Three Degrees' along with fellow WBA players Cyrille Regis and Laurie Cunningham, both of whom are sadly no longer with us.
Brendon made his professional debut for Arsenal in 1972, becoming the first black player to play for the Gunners, and when he moved to West Brom in 1978 he became a legend in the West Midlands, playing a total of 172 games. The Three Degrees, named by their manager of the time Ron Atkinson, were an iconic trio that were extremely popular with West Brom's fans and also true pioneers of the beautiful game, treading a path for young black children and budding footballers across the country.
"It was such a great day, meeting Jay Rodriguez was definitely a highlight!" - Connor
This year has seen SCF be able to grant Sporting Wishes for children like Connor and we don't intend to stop any time soon! With over 50,000 children in the UK living with life-limiting illnesses our work has only just begun! Once more I want to thank all of our supporters who allow us to provide incredible days out for some of the most deserving children and their families!