Newcastle United’s Gordon and Guimarães make young fan’s dream come true with special surprise

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The players were touched by an emotional letter sent by 13-year-old Tyler.

Star players from Newcastle United made a young fan’s dream come true, as they organised a special surprise for him.

Newcastle United’s Anthony Gordon and Bruno Guimarães created a moment of a lifetime for a young fan living with autism, after the youngster sent an emotional letter to the club.

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13-year-old Tyler, who was diagnosed with autism in 2018 penned a heartfelt message to the club, explaining how his life changed after discovering the sensory room at St. James’ Park. 

In his letter, Tyler wrote: “In 2019, I had my first trip to the sensory room at St. James’ Park. Since then, it has been the best experience of my life.

“Having Autism, I struggle with loud noises and crowds, but the sensory room helped me enjoy a match, celebrate wins, and support the losses. The stadium was too loud for me, but I needed to be part of the iconic Geordie roar!”

He continued: “One day, the staff started taking me outside for 10 minutes. Over time, I became more confident and relaxed, but I could not manage a full game. After about a year, I did a full match at a friendly. That was it – season ticket bought!”

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St. James’ Park opened a special sensory room in 2018, which has allowed for over 300 fans to attend a match day.  The sensory room and accompanying viewing is supported by specialist staff, who support fans with ear defenders, sensory toys and other tools which help fans with SEND to have the best experience.

The sensory room was introduced as part of Newcastle United’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, encompassed by the club’s United As One campaign.

St. James’ Park organised an exclusive autism-friendly tour of the stadium, while Tyler’s favourite Newcastle United players Anthony Gordon and Bruno Guimarães teamed up to organise an unforgettable surprise for him. 

As the tour, which was filmed as part of the Premier League’s Fan Mail series, reached its end in the sensory room, a special illustration was unveiled in dedication to Tyler by Gordon and Guimarães. 

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Gordon and Guimarães also presented Tyler with his own ‘Wor Flag’, which was displayed in the Gallowgate End during Newcastle’s match against West Ham United on Saturday, March 30.

The special flag and wall illustration depicts an image of Tyler sitting at his new season ticket seat in the Milburn Stand. The displays will serve as an aspirational symbol for fans like Tyler.

Gordon commented on Tyler’s story as he said: “It was a privilege for Bruno and I to meet such an inspirational young fan, whose passion for supporting the team represents exactly why we are so proud to play for this club.

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“Tyler’s letter really touched our hearts, so we were determined to celebrate his bravery in true Newcastle United style. I’ll be keeping an eye out for his flag in the Gallowgate End from now on, and hopefully it will help to inspire other young fans to follow their dreams, while bringing us good luck along the way.”

Anthony Gordon and Bruno Guimarães with young Tyler.Anthony Gordon and Bruno Guimarães with young Tyler.
Anthony Gordon and Bruno Guimarães with young Tyler.

Tyler’s mother, Cheryl commented:  “There was a time when we couldn’t even take Tyler to a busy park, but as soon as we discovered the sensory room it was like he turned into a different child.

“The sensory room is the best thing that ever happened to him in his football journey. He’s now got his own little group in the stands; they look out for each other and celebrate together. It’s lovely that they’ve developed a relationship with those around them.

“The environment provided by the club gives children such an incredible experience. The best part of my role is seeing their passion and emotion during matches. I’m really privileged to play a part in such a valuable space, ensuring everyone feels comfortable, happy and safe.”

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