The 15-year-old attends Middleton Technology School, a partner school of Manchester United Foundation, and was invited to the Aon Training Complex for what he thought was an interview about his involvement with the Foundation.
James couldn’t believe it when the Manchester United and England captain stepped out from behind a screen and presented him with a signed shirt and VIP tickets to an upcoming match.
James, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, was nominated for the surprise by the Foundation coaches who work in his school. James’ mother is currently very ill and he spends all his free time caring for her. He was recently awarded tickets to a Manchester United match but returned them to school, explaining he wouldn’t be able to go as he needed to look after his mum.
On meeting James, Rooney told him, “I’ve heard your mum hasn’t been too well and I know you couldn’t make a previous game, so me and the team have signed a shirt for you and got you two VIP tickets – we’ll make sure you can go this time.”
James and his mum later enjoyed a VIP experience at United’s 2-0 winning match against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford. James said, “I’m so happy to have met my lifelong hero; I was speechless. I didn’t have a single clue what was going to happen; it’s been the best day of my life, that’s all I can say.”
Manchester United will be revealing a series of fan surprises in the run up to Christmas, making dreams like James’ come true. The ‘Christmas Dream’ series has been made possible through the club’s partnership with Chevrolet. The brand uses football as a platform to tell stories of how play can impact and improve the lives of children around the world, just like James.