Firstly, thank you to all those who have been messaging and enquiring about how the Gaffer is.
As many off you know, Chris has been staying with his daughter Cathy down in Southampton whilst awaiting his move to a specialist Dementia centre. He has enjoyed visits from his grandchildren and from many players from his Southampton days and has also been regularly visited by our very own Sir Ray Graydon.
Sadly after speaking with Cathy this morning it appears that Chris’ illness has reached the next level and the time has come for him to move into a specialist care centre within the next week. This is the right move for Chris at this point in time, as he will be in an environment where all of his care needs will be met.
Though he can no longer go anywhere unaccompanied his friends and family will still be taking him out and about as soon as restrictions have lifted and they are even setting some driving nets within the grounds – spoiled as ever! But God help the member of staff who accompanies him on his daily walks as they’re going to be knackered!
As many of you will know through personal experience, the cost of these homes is astronomical and the quality and level of care provided in the one the Gaffer is going to is top class, so you can imagine the cost. We at Issa are already planning (with the involvement of Chris’ family) a fun day at the Railway Club in the summer to raise money to help cover these costs and help people in our local community suffering from this terrible disease.
If restrictions are lifted by that point, the day will involve lots of activities as well as a football game which will feature many ex-Saddlers and some ex-international footballers too, as well as appearances from some older ex- Saddlers who can no longer play.
We welcome the input of any Saddler fan who wishes to play a part in the day itself, whether that be by way of. sponsorship or a small donation of some sort, even if it’s just the ticket cost. All help will be gratefully received!
In the meantime, if and when restrictions are lifted, there’s a few of us planning to go down and visit the Chris and Sir Ray. Even though we have been informed that Chris may no longer recognise us, it’s still a journey we are intent on making.
He may not remember us, but we will never forget that one night in Bury. To that end I’m sure every Saddlers fan will join ISSA in wishing the Gaffer nothing but the very best.
Once a Saddler, always a Saddler, Chris.