Fancy a kick-about? Ipswich Town star's surprise visit to football-mad fan
Many football-mad youngsters love nothing more than a kick-about with their friends in the park.
But 11-year-old Adam Smith got an unexpected surprise when one of his favourite Ipswich Town first team players dropped by for a quick game.
Midfielder Tayo Edun, currently on loan to the Blues from Fulham, struck up a friendship with the Martlesham youngster when they met after a match.
Even though Adam – who has a twin sister Rachael and older sister Rebecca, 12 – is a big football fan and likes going to games at Portman Road, his autism means he struggles to cope with the sensory overload from the loud noise inside the stadium.
As a result he often goes to play in the park once the match kicks off, returning at the end to meet the players when it is less noisy.
“He really took a shine to Tayo,” said Adam’s mother Christine Smith.
“He would always come to chat and they got talking. Then Tayo messaged me and said do you think Adam would mind if he paid him a surprise visit?”
When he knocked on the door of the family’s home on Friday, August 31, Mrs Smith said: “It made Adam’s day.
“It was such a lovely thing to do. Adam loved it and his face lit up.”
Tayo came bearing gifts of a football, scarf, hat and a key ring before treating Adam to a kick-about.
The 20-year-old also brought tickets to watch Ipswich’s crunch derby match with arch East Anglian rivals Norwich City – in the directors’ box, to help Adam cope with the noise.
Despite bringing ear defenders, the noise proved a little too much for Adam as the derby is traditionally even louder than a normal game.
“The sensory overload was just too much for him,” Mrs Smith said. “He gets overwhelmed by the whole thing.”
But Mrs Smith said it was still a great experience and thanked Tayo for going the extra mile to make Adam’s day.
“What Tayo did took me a bit by surprise,” she said.
“All the players are so friendly.
“They are a really, really nice bunch of lads and they go out of their way to be helpful.”