Goater’s gift to terminally ill City supporter
A Bermuda football legend has helped to turn a dream into a reality for a terminally ill Manchester City supporter.
Former City striker Shaun Goater helped to give lifelong fan Steve Wilson a “man cave” dedicated to his beloved side.
Mr Wilson learnt earlier this year that he had terminal lung cancer.
Mr Goater said it was “beautiful” to be able to take part in the surprise project to help bring joy to Mr Wilson.
He explained: “He also brought me joy as a fan because he would have been singing my name and singing City songs.
“To get up close and personal was good, to try and give back.”
A three-minute video posted by the club to Twitter yesterday shows Mr Goater surprising Mr Wilson's family at their home.
He said the project to transform the family garage into a shrine dedicated to City was started by Mr Wilson and some friends.
The club became involved after being contacted by Mr Wilson's daughter, also a diehard City fan, who would accompany her dad to matches as a fellow season ticket-holder.
The pair even have their two seats from the club's old Maine Road stadium in the garden.
Mr Goater said: “It just shows you the love they have for the club.”
He said the club wanted to help to give the space some “finishing touches”, including fresh paint, blue carpeting, and of course lots of team memorabilia — including some signed jerseys.
City stars Eliaquim Mangala, the centre half, and midfielder Fernandinho also dropped by for the emotional unveiling and to throw some darts.
Mr Wilson described the gift as a “hell of a surprise”.
He added, holding back tears: “I can't describe it. Brilliant.”
Mr Goater said it was a “no-brainer” when he was contacted to take part in the project.
He added: “For me to show up, and just be me, was nothing.”
Taking part, Mr Goater said, helped him to “appreciate life and the moment, and being present in what you are doing”.
Team members were also taking time to make hospital visits this holiday season.
He added: “It's a great way to give back to the fans.”
Mr Goater said the determination of Mr Wilson to see the renovation project through despite his illness typified the spirit of City fans.
He explained: “Yes, he's been diagnosed as being terminally ill, but he decided I'm going to try to do something that's going to give me joy while I'm here.
“And I found that absolutely fascinating, and absolutely brilliant, and touching, quite frankly.”
Mr Goater said he and Mr Wilson also watched some clips from the club's famed game against Gillingham, the League One play-off final at Wembley Stadium in 1999.
The May 30 match was to determine the third and final team to be promoted to the Championship. City were down 2-0 with only minutes left to go in regulation time.
Late goals, one in stoppage time, pushed the match to extra time and penalty kicks, where City eventually prevailed.
Mr Goater said: “My first question to everyone at that game was did they leave early.”
He said Mr Wilson told him he and his family were there until the very end. Mr Goater added: “He said we weren't saying nice things, but we stayed.
“He's someone that got seats at the old Maine Road, he's someone that stayed at Wembley when he probably had the right to start leaving.
“They are diehard City fans.”
Mr Goater said he planned to keep his pledge made on Twitter to take in a game with the family.
He added: “They are a very normal, down-to-earth family.
“They made a great cup of tea. At this time of year when the weather's all cold, the first thing you look for when you go somewhere is a nice cup of tea.”