Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has promised an “inspirational” supporter the opportunity to meet manager Carlo Ancelotti and his playing squad following the fan’s appeal for “friends” on social media.
Michael Dullaghan, 41, who has Down’s Syndrome, has seen his social interactions limited during the coronavirus pandemic, and on Tuesday sent a tweet appealing for more “friends” on Twitter.
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The post inspired a huge response – particularly from Everton fans – as Dullaghan’s followers increased to more than 14,000, while the club’s official account told him that he’d “always have a friend in us”.
Hi Mike! Thanks for all your support. You’ll always have a friend in us. ?
Everton winger Yannick Bolasie also replied, inviting Dullaghan to drop him a message “anytime”.
Then on Friday, Dullaghan shared an image of a letter received from Kenwright, who sent a hamper of club merchandise and offered an invite to their Finch Farm training ground.
“Hello Michael,” Kenwright wrote. “What a wonderful Evertonian you are!
I’ve been thinking about you Evertonian a lot lately for a while and now something to say thank you for letter cheers pic.twitter.com/00K04tdwXx
“When I was shown your message on Twitter I just knew that Blues from all over the world would answer the call and make contact with you – and from the last update I received, you had more than 13,000 Twitter followers!
“I don’t do Twitter unfortunately, but I hope you and I can still be good friends. I am ‘old school’ and prefer to write a letter!
“I am sure that you’ve enjoyed the start to the season under Carlo Ancelotti and, in the not too distant future when times are different and we are back to normal, I would love you to come to our training ground at USM Finch Farm to meet him and the players.
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“They would love to see you and maybe you’ll get some of them to follow you on Twitter too. Perhaps you can wear some of the kits or training gear I’ve included in your hamper for all the selfies you’ll be able to take.
“Michael, you are an inspiration to us all. In difficult times you have shown the world that we are just one big family at Everton and that once you support the Blues you are never, ever short of friends.
“Look after yourself, stay safe and keep Tweeting!”
Everton have made an extremely strong start to the Premier League season, with four wins and a draw from their opening five games taking them top of the table.
Ancelotti’s side will look to maintain their unbeaten start at Southampton on Sunday, in a game that is live on Sky Sports.
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