United’s defensive duo Peter Grant and Tom Parkes were guests of honour at the Inglewood Residential Home on Dalston Road on Thursday afternoon – and they had a very special duty to fulfil thanks to an invite received recently from the Home’s activities coordinator Robyn Traynor.
Robyn contacted the club to let us know that life-long United fan John Smith, a resident at the Home, hits the sprightly age of 100 on Sunday [31 March] and she wondered if we’d be available to pop along to say hello, or pass on our best wishes for the big day.
“John has been a huge fan of United for many years and he always likes to keep up with their progress,” Robyn said. “We’re having a party on the day of his birthday, but we got in touch with the club to see if it was a possibility that some of the players would come along during the week leading up to that.
“We were all very excited when they said yes, and we can’t thank Peter and Tom enough for taking time out of their day and for bringing such a nice present for John to enjoy.”
John was all smiles as the players walked into the room and, along with his friends and other residents, posed for photographs with the local press as a signed shirt was presented to commemorate his big occasion.
“I used to watch the likes of Hugh McIlmoyle, David Oliphant, Peter McConnell and George McVitie and we’ve had some wonderful players at the club over the years,” John told us. “George’s sister Elizabeth is actually a resident here with me, and George is always in to visit, which is really nice.
“I like the new manager, and the staff here always let me know how the lads have got on after they’ve played. I think it’s going to be tough for them to get promoted, but I really hope that they do. Thank you to the players for my present and for coming along to help me celebrate my birthday.”
Speaking after meeting John, centre back Tom Parkes said: “That was a really nice visit. I’ve never seen anyone smile as much as John did when we walked in, and that’s just brilliant to see.
“The staff were telling us that he’s having a big party on Sunday so I’m sure he’ll have the signed shirt on display. Hopefully we’ll also have picked up three points at Tranmere to make the weekend feel even better for him.”
“I’m really pleased to have met John,” fellow defender Peter Grant said. “You could tell that he was chuffed that we’d come along and it’s these kinds of visits that I find to be really special.
“We’ve made his day, but he’s made ours as well. I wished him a happy birthday on behalf of everyone at the club and hopefully he’ll have a great party with his family and friends on Sunday.”
Happy Birthday from all of us to John Smith – 100 on Sunday 31 March!