It’s not often an email stops you dead in your tracks and brings on the kind of emotion which forces you to fight back the tears.
But sitting at Allianz Stadium ahead of last Saturday’s Sydney Derby that’s exactly what happened.
If ever I needed a reminder as to why we exist as a football club, this was it.
The letter was from Michael Webster, a father of two children Hendrix 8 and Lyric 5, from Kellyville.
He said he had something special to share – and he did, I’ll let you read on…
I’d like to share something special with yourself and all involved at Sydney FC. My young family and I have always been big fans of the club, however this year we’ve been lucky enough to attend most home games, which has been fantastic.
I have a 5-year old daughter who enjoys it and my 8 year old son who is obsessed with football and Sydney FC. This year has been a challenging one for my son with bullying at school which has led to him having very little confidence in himself. As a parent it’s been horrible to see this unfolding in front of us. My wife and I doing everything possible to turn this around, without a great deal of success.
I had a good chat with a Michael (Sydney FC Board Member) and Brad Crismale about this and my son’s passion for football and Sydney FC. Not only have we been lucky enough to attend the games, but my son has been lucky enough meet the squad. Every single player in the team were incredibly polite and took the time to have a quick chat with my son, Hendrix. We started to see a change in Hendrix level of confidence from this moment.
We drove from Sydney to AAMI Park a few weeks back to watch the game against Melbourne City. Again, a few of the players came over after the game to the stands to say hi to my son and daughter and have a few photos. This may not seem like much to some, but to my kids, especially my son, it was massive! Credit to the club for having a great squad with a positive attitude on and off the pitch regardless of the score.
Two weeks ago we attended the Big Blue and it was my son’s birthday that day and he was lucky enough to receive a jersey from James Donachie after the game. What a guy! Michael Crismale (Sydney FC Board Member) took my son down and the entire Sydney FC team wished him a happy 8th birthday. The joy that this brought to not only Hendrix, but my wife and I was next level. Hendrix hasn’t stopped talking about this for the last two weeks.
I’d like to thank Sydney FC, Michael and Brad Crismale for everything they’ve done for my family, especially Hendrix. They’ve turned his life around and we’re so grateful.
Let’s go Sydney!
*This letter was published with the permission of the Webster family.
Michael’s letter was a perfect indication of how footballers have a fantastic power and ability to change people’s lives, why clubs like Sydney FC exist and how much of the great work done by our players often goes unnoticed.
Talking to Michael after reading the letter he explained why he wanted to send the letter.
“I felt like I needed to voice it and thank the club as things like this shouldn’t be let go,” he said.
“People are quick to spread bad news and criticize and it’s nice to give people a compliment these days.
“I’ve just got a huge appreciation for Michael and Brad and of course the players.
“Hendrix has been awesome in the past few weeks, but it has been a pretty challenging few months for him and us as parents find it difficult too,” he continued.
“My youngest brother is severely autistic so I have had experience of bullying throughout my life and we constantly remind our kids that there are differences in the world, but we should treat everyone the same.
“Visiting Allianz Stadium each week is more than just coming to see the football for us. We get there from midday, make a day of it and we really love it.
“And we can’t wait for the next match.”
The Websters won’t have too long to wait with next Saturday evening’s clash with Champions Western United shaping a big one for the Sky Blues (7.45pm).
A Sunday afternoon game against Perth (16th April 3pm) and Saturday afternoon match with Newcastle Jets (29th April 5pm) are also n the cards before season’s end.