BRAVE CITY BALL BOY RETURNS TO THE ETIHAD TO MEET HIS IDOLS
A Manchester City ball boy who was told he would never walk again after being diagnosed with cancer has returned to Etihad pitch for the first time, following a special meeting with Pep Guardiola and Sergio Aguero.
Elliott Fernadez-Sanz, aged 19 from Denton, spent nine years as a ball boy with the Blues before being given a sudden diagnosis of sarcoma cancer, which left him on life-support and just three hours from death.
Elliott, who has always been a huge Manchester City fan, is proud to have played a pivotal role in the Club’s famous 2012 Premier League winning fixture against QPR, when he placed the ball on the corner spot ahead of Edin Dzeko’s equalizer.
Working with The Willow Foundation, which grants wishes for seriously ill young adults, the Club was delighted to invite Elliott to the City Football Academy where he was able to watch his heroes in training and spend some time with Sergio Aguero.
Hearing about the teenager’s story, Manchester City Manager Pep Guardiola also dropped in for a surprise visit where the pair reminisced about their ball boy experiences.
Speaking to Elliot, Guardiola said: “In Barcelona I was the same, it was amazing when I was 13, 14, 15. It was a dream to see the players score goals – how they speak, how they play. This is so difficult, but take it step by step and any time you need us, we are here.”
The Everton fixture last weekend was the first time Elliott could return to the Etihad on foot and, to celebrate, he was taken onto the pitch at half-time where he was reunited with old friends.
Elliott said: “It’s so important for me to go to the games, I really enjoy coming with my family. For me, it’s important to keep going – you can never keep me away from the Etihad!
“It’s been great to see the players training and meeting everyone, fantastic really, I feel really honoured. Thank you, I’m so lucky and I didn’t think I’d ever get to this point.”
Manchester City is proud to work with a number of wish-granting charities throughout the year. This season, the Club’s foundation City in the Community is celebrating 30 years of making a difference to the lives of people in Manchester.
For more information about the Club’s community work, visit: www.mancity.com/community
About Manchester City Football Club
Manchester City FC is an English Premier League club whose roots began in East Manchester in 1880 as St Mark’s West Gorton. It officially became Manchester City FC in 1894 and has since then gone onto win the European Cup Winners’ Cup, four League Championship titles, including two Premier League titles, and five FA Cups. Manchester City FC is one of four teams comprising the City Football Group and counts New York City FC, Melbourne City FC and Yokohama F-Marinos among its sister clubs.
Under manager Pep Guardiola, one of the most highly decorated managers in world football, the Club plays its domestic and Champions’ League home fixtures at the Etihad Stadium, a spectacular 55,000 seat arena that City have called home since 2003. Today, the Stadium sits on the wider Etihad Campus, which also encompasses the City Football Academy, a world-leading first team training and youth development facility located in the heart of East Manchester. Featuring a 7,000 capacity Academy Stadium, the City Football Academy is also where Manchester City Women’s Football Club and the Elite Development Squad train on a daily basis and play their competitive home games.
For more information, please visit: www.mancity.com