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Old 09-01-2019, 09:20 PM   #21
Andi Istiabudi
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Manchester United legend surprises 'true red' Gloucester fan who had to give up season ticket after stroke

Virgin Money and Manchester United agreed Leslie, who gave up his Old Trafford season ticket after a stroke, was truly deserving of 'something amazing.'

A Manchester United fan from Gloucester received a surprise visit from a Red Devil legend, thanks to his daugher.

Irish full-back Denis Irwin, who played at United between 1990 and 2002, turned up at Leslie Purnell's home to watch the derby with the family as part of a 'United Way experience.'

Leslie was nominated for the experience by his daughter Charlotte, believing her dad to be 'a true red'.

Manchester United and Virgin Money seemed to think so too, as Leslie used to travel the world following United before a stroke in 2007 resulted in him having to give up his season ticket at Old Trafford.

Charlotte said: "Manchester United did a competition in partnership with Virgin Money on Facebook to nominate a true red. I nominated my dad because I believe he is a true red.

"My dad had a stroke in 2007, he lost his speech and movement in the right-hand side of his body.

"A clot-busting drug was given to him at Gloucester Royal Hospital. This drug saved my dad's life, but he spent the next two years attending speech therapy to regain as much of his speech as he could."

Charlotte added that she was very thankful for Dr Dutta at Gloucester Royal who stayed on shift to administer the drug for her dad, saving his life.



Denis Irwin surprised Leslie with a visit after being nominated by his daughter Charlotte for the special treat

"Unfortunately my dad was medically retired; having previously been an RAF firefighter. He had to give up his season ticket at Old Trafford as travelling was just too much.

"But even after his stroke he travelled to Moscow to watch Manchester United against Chelsea in the Champions League Final in 2008.

"Before his stroke, my dad helped run Bristol and Bath Supporters Club. He followed Manchester United around the world, he even wore a United tie to his wedding.

"That's why I nominated him."

Charlotte then put it out of her mind and did not hear anything until a couple of months later. She received an email from Virgin Money to say that they would like to do something special for him.

She said: "They said they would like to send Denis Irwin to his house to watch a game with him, I couldn't believe it.

"I called my boyfriend, my mum and sister to tell them and they didn't believe me at first.

"It took some organising to get my dad out of the house on a day that the football was on, so his friend Andy stepped in and made up a reason to get him out the house.



Denis Irwin watched the derby match with true red Leslie, who had to give his season ticket up at Old Trafford after a stroke

"He booked a table at a pub to have food and ensured him they would be back for kick off.

"The camera crew turned up and spent a few hours setting up, within two hours Denis walk through our front door and asked for a coffee, 'milk and no sugar.'

"I couldn't believe it was happening and that he was in my parents' house.

"A short while later my dad returned from his meal and when he walking in he was greeted by Denis Irwin.



Leslie was shocked to see United legend Denis Irwin in his front room

"My dad couldn't believe what was going on and was a little confused as to why Denis was in his living room.

"Denis was a genuine person and spoke to my dad about the days he played, my dad's stroke and all the games he had attended, even the one day trip to Moscow to see United play after the stroke.


"My dad was over the moon and couldn't thank Virgin Money and Manchester United enough for what they had done to make it all happen.

"Who would have thought one day he would come home to Denis Irwin sat on his sofa?"



United fullback Denis Irwin shakes hands with true red Leslie

The experience is part of a promotion between Virgin Money and Manchester United, and nominations are open for more deserving United fans to enjoy something special.

Virgin Money said: "We need your help to find those fans who deserve a treat. The dedicated, die-hard supporter. The fan with a big life event this season. Or the lifelong follower in the family. Whoever they are, we'd love to hear about them.

www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk
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Old 23-12-2020, 09:04 AM   #22
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Old 03-07-2021, 09:51 AM   #23
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IRWIN: WE DON'T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT FULL-BACKS!

Treble-winner Denis Irwin says Manchester United can relax when it comes to the full-back positions, after noting the form and progress of Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot at international level.

Irwin racked up a mammoth 529 appearances in both left and right-back positions during a 12-year career in M16, and has been watching on with pride as Shaw has nailed down the left-sided spot he used to call his own.

Following his long-awaited return to the England squad in March, Shaw was instrumental in the Three Lions' milestone 2-0 victory over Germany at Euro 2020, and Den says it's come as no surprise, given his superb form for United during the last 18 months or so.

“He's been brilliant as we've seen this season,” purred the seven-time Premier League winner. “I think he was in with Bruno [Fernandes] for Player of the Year. Bruno got it, as you would expect with the contribution he made, but I think Luke has had a fantastic year and has brought that confidence into the Euros.

“I know he didn't play in the first game [against Croatia], but he had a huge impact the other night [against Germany], particularly in the second half where he was involved in the two goals.

“Him and Harry [Maguire] have done really, really well. England have not conceded a goal yet, the keeper looks strong, and I thought the other night, besides the [Thomas] Muller chance, there weren't many chances given up. And they've looked very solid, England, and Luke and Harry have been a big part of that.”

Irwin believes the way Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has set up his United squad has played a big part in Shaw's wonderful form.

“It's been well documented, his ups and down at United,” explained the Irishman. “The injuries he had and the way he's had to come back from that.

“The challenges he had in the full-back department, of Brandon [Williams] coming in and then [Alex] Telles coming and challenging him, which spurred him on. But you can see he's playing with bagfuls of confidence – he's great going forward. And it's great to see the two of them [Maguire and Shaw] doing very well.”

Irwin also reserved praise for Diogo Dalot, who has had an impressive summer with Portugal – reaching the final of the Under-21 European Championship – before being called up to his country's senior squad at Euro 2020, in place of the injured Joao Cancelo.

Dalot made his senior international debut for the Selecao in their 2-2 draw with France in the group stage, and Irwin says it could be the encouragement he needs to really challenge Aaron Wan-Bissaka for a first-team spot when he returns to Manchester.

“It's a good bit of experience for him. He's still a young lad, and obviously was playing at AC Milan last year in a really good league, so that will give him great experience as well. He needs to come back and challenge for that full-back position, because Aaron's made that position his own. So it's good that there's competition there. He looks strong, he looks fit. He needs a run of games and a run of weeks without injury problems to keep going. But he's done brilliantly for Portugal so that's good to see.

“I don't think we need to worry about full-back positions at the moment! With Luke playing so well and Diogo coming back... I don't know what plans Ole has got, but [we have] Brandon – who had a quieter year last year after his breakthrough year – and Alex Telles on hand as well. We're very strong in that position.”

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Old 22-07-2022, 04:22 AM   #24
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Old 01-11-2022, 10:22 AM   #25
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