PREMIER League giants Liverpool gave the family of a tragic superfan a day they will never forget when they invited them to witness a special tribute by fans.
Relatives of 18-year-old Reds fan and blogger Curtis Allen, who died earlier this month, were invited to Anfield on Saturday for the match against Southampton, where supporters held a minute’s applause in his memory in the 18th minute.
Soccer-mad Curtis, from Wath, had been battling leaukaemia and died on November 1 after sustaining a spleen injury.
His funeral service was held last Thursday at St Alban’s Church in Denaby.
His family has been comforted by tributes from Liverpool FC fans and players including Brazilian star Philippe Coutinho, who was Curtis’s soccer hero.
Family members were invited to the club boardroom by club chief executive Peter Moore to watch the first home match for Liverpool since Curtis’s death.
There were surprises galore when they met football legend Kenny Dalglish and walked down the players’ tunnel.
Curtis’s sister Kirsty said mum Tracy Mason, dad Mick Allen and stepdad Steve Mason, had all made the trip to Liverpool, where they were greeted in the boardroom by hugs from Mr Moore before meeting guests including soccer legends Gary McAllister, Ian Callaghan and Kenny Dalglish.
Kirsty said: “Kenny hugged us all and gave his condolences.
“My mum said to him ‘I’m not a football fan but I’m wearing my Liver Bird pin badge for Curt today, to which Kenny straight away removed his Liverpool poppy badge he was wearing and said: ‘Here is another badge for you to wear’.”
After being wined and dined at Peter Moore’s table, the family joined Mr Moore and his wife in the stands.
Kirsty said: “The Kop were singing You’ll Never Walk Alone and we quickly spotted the huge banner that supporters had made for Curt, passing through the crowd. It was overwhelming and emotional.”
Boardroom guests and supporters in the stands joined in the minute’s applause for Curtis, Kirsty said, and after the game the family were invited to the players’ tunnel, where they saw Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
“My dad was gobsmacked and looked so excited,” Kirsty added. “We truly felt like VIPs.
“Peter then said: ‘We have somebody who wants to talk to you’.
“We turned around to see Phillipe Coutinho, Curt’s hero whom he met last year, walking towards us, his face full of sincerity and sadness.
“He said he was so sorry to hear about Curtis and sent love, prayers and condolences from himself and his family, and that he could remember Curtis from last year’s visit to Melwood.
“We were still in awe for the entire journey home, only to then watch the highlights on Match of the Day and see us sat in front of Kenny Dalglish.
“The day in the executive boardroom will be a day we will treasure forever, and carry with us with Curt’s memory.
“Our thanks to Peter Moore and everybody that made us feel so welcome and cared for at Liverpool Football Club.”