An enormously popular Evertonian is the richly-deserved winner of the Club’s inaugural Spirt of the Blues award, designed to recognise a supporter “who inspires others and represents the spirit of everything Everton and our People's Club values”.
Michael has grown into one of the faces of the Club’s fanbase and, with his regular social media videos of support and encouragement for the team, accumulated a Twitter following of more than 33,000.
Fans advocating an award for Michael paid tribute to “a constant force for good” whose “smile would light up Goodison Park”.
Everton repaid Michael for his commitment, loyalty and unrelenting positivity with an invite to the Club’s Finch Farm headquarters, where he met manager Frank Lampard and a host of First-Team stars, before receiving his prize from defender Mason Holgate.
Michael was also treated to hospitality, with family members, for the stunning comeback victory over Crystal Palace last week that sealed Everton’s Premier League survival.
The passionate fan is renowned for his brilliant drawings of Everton’s players and management.
And Lampard was thrilled with his own portrait, which Michael spent eight hours perfecting.
Michael, who has Down syndrome, was the standout candidate for this unique honour, said the Club, due to his “continued positive attitude online and for making others smile through what has been a difficult season”.
Lampard echoed that sentiment, telling Michael, “It has been amazing for me to come to the Club and see how passionate the fans are – people like yourself, thank you very much for your support”.
The Everton manager additionally assured Michael the Club would reciprocate his unstinting support in any way possible and that he is always welcome at Finch Farm.
Holgate, who beamed as he observed Michael’s attention to detail extended to including the defender’s beard on a fabulous portrait, presented the VIP guest with his Spirit of the Blues trophy.
The ground-breaking honour, Holgate told Michael, was just reward for “being a special part of the Club and always helping us”.
Hundreds of Evertonians and fans from across the football community championed Michael’s case for recognition in the Club’s 2021/22 End of Season Awards.
“Michael demonstrates a loyalty and unconditional support for Everton FC and with his disability he is a credit to your club and an inspiration to so many and would be a more than worthy winner,” read one message.
A fellow Everton fan wrote: “Michael has been a true and loyal supporter during a difficult season.
“He is a great example to all football supporters. His posts on social media are inspirational and totally unique. His smile would light up Goodison Park.”
Everton players and staff rushed to meet Michael at Finch Farm.
Leighton Baines and Duncan Ferguson both chatted with the Everton fanatic, while Richarlison, Seamus Coleman, Michael Keane, Anthony Gordon and Demarai Gray were among the current First-Teamers who spent time with their visitor.
Michael sustained his infectious optimism and enthusiasm throughout a testing season for Everton.
His faith was proved well placed when Lampard’s team won four and drew two of eight games to definitively escape the bottom three.
And it was Michael’s determination to stick with his Club, to rally behind Everton in a difficult period, that captured the imagination of fellow supporters.
“He's been a constant force for good again this year, keeping Everton fan spirits up in what has been a tough season for us,” said one fan.
“Mike never fails to make everyone smile, and the sheer volume of uplifting material and positivity is a pleasure to see each day.
“He is clearly our number one fan."
Another supporter wrote: “Michael is a huge inspiration to me, both in his love for Everton and his desire to advocate for more inclusive communities.”
The other categories which normally feature in our End of Season Awards, including our next Everton Giant, the Chairman's Blueblood Award and the latest recipient of The People's Club Award, will be announced at a later date.