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EFL: Sheffield United help Frank’s dream come true

For the vast majority of Sheffield United fans, playing for the Blades at Bramall Lane is the stuff of dreams. And, when you’re 90 years old and living with dementia, those dreams would seem all the more distant.

31 October 2018

On Saturday last weekend, dreams of playing at Bramall Lane turned to reality for lifelong Blade, Frank Coulson.

Frank, a resident at Norwood Grange Care Home, was introduced to the Sheffield United crowd at Bramnall Lane on Saturday during half-time of their 4-2 victory over Wigan Athletic.

The lifelong Blades supporter enjoyed a half-time kick-about with United legend Tony Currie before scoring a goal in front of thousands of fellow Blades at the famous Kop end.

Norwood Grange Care Home recently started a ‘Make a Wish’ scheme, which has been encouraging residents to write down their dearest wishes before hanging them on a ‘wishing tree’.

Each month, the care home then aims to make a resident’s dream come true. October was was Frank’s turn – and his wish was ‘to play football for Sheffield United’. With help from the club, his wish was realised.

Frank first began watching the Blades 80 years ago with his friends and has continued to attend home games ever since. Even being diagnosed with dementia hasn's stopped him watching his beloved Blades at the Lane alongside his daughter, Jennifer.

Having always enjoyed being a part of the ‘Blades community’, he was invited by Sheffield United to attend their fixture against Wigan in the directors’ box, not knowing that he would fulfil his lifelong dream at half-time.

After both sets of players had made their way to the dressing rooms for half-time, Frank was escorted pitch side, pulled on the famous red and white United jersey emblazoned with his very own ‘Coulson 90’ squad name and number and to his surprise, was led to the penalty area by Tony Currie, one of his heroes.

Frank's time on the pitch with Tony Currie gave him the opportunity to score a goal in front of a jubilant home crowd, something he never thought he would do. 

Dave McCarthy, operations director at Sheffield United, said: “We were delighted to host Frank – his face was a picture when he discovered that he was about to fulfil his lifelong dream.

“We’re made up that he had the time of his life. Dementia is a horrible illness dor anyone to have to suffer and we’re glad that we were able to provide even just a little bit of respite to Frank and his loved ones. Our fans were amazing too, giving ‘one of their own’ a lovely reception. 

“We'd like to say a big thank you to staff at Norwood Grange Care Home for getting in touch – we were privileged to host Frank and his family and one of his carers, Michelle, for what was an incredibly touching Bramall Lane moment.”

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