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Blades help Frank's dream come true

29 October 2018

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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.

On Saturday, those dreams turned to reality for lifelong Blade, Frank Coulson.

Frank, a resident at Norwood Grange Care Home, was introduced to the crowd and 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 during the club's win over Wigan Athletic at Bramall Lane.

Norwood Grange recently started a 'Make a Wish' scheme, which encourages 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 and in October, it was Frank's turn - and his wish was 'to play football for Sheffield United'. With help from the Blades, on Saturday that 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 didn't stop Frank watching his beloved Blades at the Lane alongside his daughter, Jennifer. He's never owned many football shirts - money was tight and being able to afford match tickets was more important to him.

His favourite fixture was always the Steel City derby - as Frank puts it, the atmosphere was 'always electric'.

Frank, who has always enjoyed being part of the 'Blades community', was invited by Sheffield United to attend the fixture in the directors' box, not knowing that he would fulfil his lifelong dream at half time.

After the Blades and Wigan players headed to the dressing rooms for half time, Frank came 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. Currie then passed the ball to the club's latest 'signing' for him to score in front of a jubilant home crowd.

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 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.

"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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