Wednesday 29 March 2017

Football club names terminally ill boy as substitute

Rochdale manager Keith Hill said they wanted to support Joshua's family
Rochdale manager Keith Hill said they wanted to support Joshua's family

A football club has named a terminally ill five-year-old fan as a substitute in its cup tie match squad.

League One's Rochdale AFC has listed its "youngest ever signing" Joshua McCormack as one of seven substitutes for the team's Checkatrade Trophy clash at Hartlepool United on Wednesday night.

The keen Dale supporter was diagnosed with a brain tumour last year and his family were told in September that the illness was terminal.

In February the players presented Joshua and his mother with a cheque to help towards a fundraising campaign for treatment, while the youngster was mascot for the day in August.

Manager Keith Hill said the youngster had "touched the hearts of everyone" at the club and added he hoped their "small gesture can bring some light to his family during this difficult time".

Joshua is too poorly to attend the game at Victoria Park, said the club, but his shirt, numbered 55, will hang proudly in the dressing room before the match and will take pride of place on the substitutes' bench. His name will also appear on Wednesday night's team sheet.

The players and management will visit Joshua in a local hospice on Thursday where they will present him with his matchday shirt, the team sheet and his own junior Dale shirt signed by all the players.

Hill said: "It is a real honour to name Joshua McCormack as a substitute for tonight's game.

"He has touched the hearts of everyone at Rochdale Football Club since we met him for the first time back in February.

"No child should have to go through what Joshua is going through and we, as a club and a group of players, will continue to do whatever we can to support him and his family.

"We hope this one small gesture can bring some light to his family during this difficult time."

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