'Chris was looking over us' - Ipswich Town fan Chris Reynolds, 21, given 'amazing' tribute as Daryl Murphy scores in minute's applause
PUBLISHED: 12:15 27 April 2015
A fitting tribute was paid to an Ipswich Town fan who died aged 21 when Blues striker Daryl Murphy scored during a minute's applause held in his memory at the weekend.
Friends and family of loyal Town fan Chris Reynolds, who recently died in hospital, launched a campaign asking supporters to pay tribute by applauding in the 21st minute at Portman Road on Saturday.
The appeal received widespread support, including from popular Town defender Tyrone Mings on Twitter, and the fans duly gave rise in the 21st minute.
Mings was even seen clapping on the pitch as Town tried to break the deadlock against Nottingham Forest with the play-offs in touching distance.
Then, with around five seconds of the 21st minute remaining and the crowd reaching a crescendo, Murphy latched onto a pass from strike partner Freddie Sears and scored.
Season-ticket holder Nathan Sustins, 25, who was one of Chris’s best friends and helped launch the campaign, described the poignant moment.
He said: “As soon as the 21st minute struck on the clock everyone was up and clapping. It was really emotional. I had a little cry.
“I didn’t really believe in people looking down on you but that’s changed my mind completely – as Murphy struck that ball into the back of the net, I burst into tears because I knew Chris was looking over us.
“It was just amazing. Everyone around me jumped on me and hugged me, saying he is definitely looking down on us today. It was a lovely touch.
“I thought it would be crazy if it did happen but didn’t actually think it would. It was fate. Chris was definitely looking over Portman Road.”
Chris, of Lowestoft, died at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire on April 19.
Nathan, a health care assistant also of Lowestoft, said: “Chris said at the beginning of the season ‘this is our year’.
“Touch wood, his prediction is right so far, and it would be a lovely tribute if we can get to that Wembley play-off final and win it for Chris. I know, if we get there, he will definitely be there with us.”
Town beat Forest 2-1 and another victory, or a draw, in their final game away to Blackburn this Saturday will guarantee a play-off spot.
Mings signed his match shirt, writing “In loving memory of Chris” and gave it to Nathan to give to Chris’s parents after the funeral on May 11.
Nathan said: “I knew Tyrone was one of the kindest footballers to ever play at Portman Road but I did not expect him to give a signed shirt. I cannot thank him enough.”
Nathan described Chris as “cheeky, funny and caring” and a “mad” Ipswich fan.
“If you were to cut him open, he would have bled blue and white,” he said.
He added he was “absolutely devastated” to hear Chris had died.
“We have been up and down the country watching Ipswich,” he said. “I will miss him.”
Sears, who scored a late, heavily-deflected winner in Town’s vital 2-1 win over Forest, said: “I saw on Twitter about a lad passing away and they were going to have the minute’s applause.
“As players you try not to focus on that but the players wish the family well and they have our condolences.
“Murphy has finished the goal really well. We will take goals at any time but it was a fitting tribute to the lad and it was one for the family.”
Liz Edwards, chairman of the Ipswich Town Supporters Club, added: “The minute’s applause was a perfect way for the whole, huge group of Town supporters to recognise that Chris was one of us.
“For Murphs to score right at the end of the applause – well, it meant that Chris was celebrating with us all.”