Former Harlow Town FC player gets a kick out of return to old club

Former Harlow Town FC player gets a kick out of return to old club zoom

A former footballer made an emotional return to his old club to take a penalty on the pitch thanks to the team at Ashbrook Court.

Norman Mitchell joined his local team, Harlow Town, aged 16, and was taken back to watch the club’s match against Clapton Community by the team at the 70-bed care home which provides residential, nursing and dementia care.

The 69-year-old, who was also once on the books at West Ham United, was joined on the special day by his daughter Michaela, who thanked the current team for welcoming her dad to the club.

“He had a lovely day, I was nervous waiting for him to take the penalty but he absolutely loved it and everyone cheered him on,” she said.

“Football has always been such a big part of his life so it was great to see him back at Harlow Town and enjoying the day.

“The current manager and players were really welcoming. Even though they were getting ready to play, they all gave their time to make sure we were happy.

“I used to go and watch my dad play so we still know lots of people at the club. Everyone knows who he is in Harlow, so having his friends with us was like a big reunion for everyone.

“Dad loves getting out and about, so it was really special to see him taking it all in and having such a great time.”

After being welcomed into the dressing room at the Harlow Arena before kick off, Norman met the current squad and then settled into his seat for the match.

Norman went out on to the pitch at half time and rolled back the years by taking a penalty to the delight of the fans inside the stadium.

Care home manager, Jonathane Ribeiro, outlined how the team at the home, a Regional Finalist at the Great British Care Awards, go above and beyond to arrange memorable experiences for the residents.

He added: “The whole team knows how much Norman loves football so it was really special to be able to make this happen for him.

“Moving into our home doesn’t mean you have to stop engaging with the things you love and it’s really important to be able to relive all those special memories and we also support our residents to create new memories and new experiences.

“Harlow Town holds lots of incredible memories for Norman and seeing how happy he was when he got back shows how much this trip meant to him.”