Writer: SFC Forever
Date:Friday January 28 2011
Having been given my instructions I duly did as instructed and was waiting to collect the three little ones from school.
Arriving at the ground we joined the long queue waiting outside of the shop to see the FA Cup and also three of the first team players.
The wait was about 20 minutes before we reached the sanctuary of the warm shop. My five year old daughter was having her first trip to St Mary's and immediately began picking up all sorts of items festooned with the Saints emblem and colourings.
The queue soon reached the trophy and the family was photographed happily smiling into the camera.
The best though was yet to come and as the kids approached the table where the three players were seated they were delighted by the sight oh Adam Lallana.
Richard Chaplow, Adam Lallana and Guilherme do Prado(Guly) were there signing their autographs and being snapped with the various children as they passed through.
Richard Chaplow seemed to be totally at ease and was a picture of cheerfulness. His smile was warm and friendly and when it was time for the two girls and boy to have their photo taken they were amazingly relaxed.
Adam was also at ease and looked well and without being a medical expert, I imagine he will soon be back on the field playing again in our colours.
The biggest bonus though was Guly. My five year old was stood behind him and he turned and helped her move forward between himself and Adam as we took a picture. He held my girl gently and also seemed happy to be at the autograph signings.
Afterwards, as we headed back to the car, I saw three happy children who through the workings of the club had spent some enjoyable time at the home of my second love.
Speeking to several parents, I saw that all were of the same opinion. This had been a well thought out move and one which could esily bring more people back to the club in the future.
One dad told me that he had been trying to get his six year old son to watch a game and now his son had demanded the chance to do so.
Good publicity and a great way for the fans to get to see the players when they were at ease and comfortable in their surroundings.
For me as a parent I am now told that I have to take my five year old daughter next time I go to a game.
Even this morning as she reached school all she could talk about was the 'red and white'. A well worth while experience I imagine and one which could easily pay dividends in the future.
My verdict on the day was one of success. The club increased sales maybe, but more importantly made a lot of small children very happy.
Date:Friday January 28 2011
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