Everton manager Sam Allardyce has presented George Shaw with the first ever USM ‘Unlock the Potential’ access-all-areas pass at USM Finch Farm as the Blues kick off Blue Crimbo.
Young Evertonian George, who lives with cerebral palsy, famously beat Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas and Aaron Lennon to the ‘Goal of the Month Award’ in January 2016 after scoring at Goodison Park during half-time at the Blues fixture against Swansea City.
Almost two years on, 11-year-old George, who plays for the development team for Cerebral Palsy United FC, was invited by USM along with his teammates for a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of the Blues training ground. As part of the special Blue Crimbo visit they also took part in a coaching session with Everton in the Community coaches before being joined by some other special guests.
Once George and his friends had got over the shock of having the opportunity to train at USM Finch Farm, they were surprised by none other than new Blues boss Allardyce, who presented George with the first ever USM ‘Unlock the Potential’ access-all-areas pass. After explaining the perks of the pass and catching up with George and his team-mates about their recent results, the manager was more than happy for George to take hold of the microphone and ask him a few questions of his own.
Just a week after his appointment, Allardyce was keen to get stuck into the Club’s community spirit and values and meet the young boy who stole all Evertonian’s hearts when he scored at the Howard Kendall Gwladys Street End in January 2016.
Allardyce said: “Every Evertonian and a lot of people who follow football will be familiar with George, his incredible story and his passion for this great Club and we were absolutely delighted to welcome him and his friends to USM Finch Farm this week as we kick-off celebrating Blue Crimbo.
“George and the rest of his pals at Cerebral Palsy United are a fantastic group of young people and we wanted here at the Club to give them an afternoon to remember at a special time of year.”
Next to pop in on the session were Kevin Mirallas, Ademola Lookman and Morgan Schneiderlin who were all keen to hear from George about his special USM Finch Farm experience. After being put through their paces by EitC Disability Coaches John and Matty, the enthusiastic group of youngsters took a quick water break before being surprised by captain Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman and Aaron Lennon who all stuck on training bibs and joined George and his team-mates for a game of football before getting lots of photographs and autographs.
Recapping on his day, George said: “Words can’t describe it – just to be able to play alongside Seamus, Aaron and Jags is absolutely brilliant. The team really enjoyed it but I think I was a bit starstruck when everyone kept walking in! I was trying to play football but I kept getting distracted!”
Everton winger Aaron Lennon, who was pipped to the post by the youngster for the ‘Goal of the Month’ award two years, added: “George is unbelievable – for me and the lads he is an inspiration. You could really see how much he and his teammates enjoyed the day and us older lads couldn’t wait to join in and play with them.”
This Blue Crimbo, Everton Football Club is celebrating and rewarding different members of the Everton Family – old and new. Blue Crimbo wouldn’t be Blue Crimbo without the fans playing their part so we are asking you to share stories of fellow Evertonians who have done something special for other people. Share those stories of acts of kindness on social media and simply use #BlueCrimbo and the Blue Crimbo team at the Club will do the rest.