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A special matchday experience at City of Liverpool

Wed 22nd November 2017 | City of Liverpool
By Ian Templeman

City of Liverpool have been delighted to welcome two new supporters to their recent games.

Steven Woods has only been to a handful of Purps matches, but by his own admission, has been completely bitten by the "Purple bug".

However, not only have the Purps reignited his passion for going to football matches once more, it's more than just the matchday experience that has made his days so special.

Steven's Dad Tommy has Alzheimer’s and is now in a care home in South Liverpool, but with assistance from the club, Steven has been able to take him to recent games.

After Gary Johansen (City of Liverpool Media Officer) persuaded Steven to come down and watch the Purps' game against Runcorn Town, Steven was hooked and as he explained, the whole experience made him want to share it with his Dad.

"Everything came flooding back to me before I even saw a ball kicked! I’ve been to countless football matches but this seemed different", said Steven.

"The atmosphere filled me with nostalgia and wonderful memories of going the match with my Dad, playing footy behind the goal, running up and down waiting for half time to run on the pitch and bang one in the net! So I thought, well if I get so many fond memories maybe my Dad would too”.

"I was so excited after going to that first Purps match, that I couldn't wait to tell Dad all about it. I was cutting his hair in the home whilst enthusiastically gushing about the game and I asked him if he'd like to come with me the following Saturday” .

"My Dad can be very unresponsive, such is the severity of this awful disease, but he said “Yes”, took my hand and put it to his face!”

"What makes that Saturday match against Congleton Town even more special is that my Dad hadn’t been out of the home for over a year, and here was I about to take him to a football match!”

"In what felt like a military operation and with Gary’s help (for which I will be eternally grateful), my Dad and I were sitting on the decking, coffee in hand, watching the Purps take an emphatic 2-0 lead” .

"We ended the game losing 2-4, but I was still on cloud 9, spending time at the footy with my Dad” .

"He took me to hundreds of matches when I was a kid, and here we both were, spending time together again watching footy, something I thought I would never get again. COLFC 1-0 Alzheimer’s!”

"I had a good laugh with Donna and John Hopwood and Phil Bigelow as they helped me get my Dad in the car, offering help in the future to get my Dad to more games! Wow! If this was a Premier League game people would have been knocking into me in their own world as I struggled on”.

"Six games in and counting the days to the next game, there's something special about the Purps, a good mix of all that is good about football and it gives me my Dad back for those 90 minutes!"

Gary Johansen said: ”This not only highlights how special and interactive non league football is, but anyone reading about Steve and his dad Tommy's experience couldn't fail to be moved by it.

"With fans being priced out of Premier League Football, non-league offers a fantastic alternative for supporters to experience true, real, passionate football that they can fully be a part of.

He added: “For Steve to have come to his first Purps match against Runcorn Town, and have all those memories reignited, and have the passion for football rekindled is brilliant in itself.

"But for him to be able to have the opportunity to spend such quality time with his Dad, reminiscing about football from years gone by, and creating such precious moments again, something he never thought would ever happen, is truly a wonderful thing.

“City of Liverpool is all about building community, enabling fans to enjoy a full matchday experience and encouraging families to enjoy the experience together. Steve’s story highlights this and so much more.

"Hopefully folk who read this article may be encouraged, and if they also have family members or friends in similar situations, that they too can enjoy everything non-league football has to offer and share precious times together".

Steven and Tommy are pictured below.


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