With all the cynicism and greed within top flight football, it is always touching when a club goes out of their way to give an ill young fan the opportunity of a lifetime.
Ajax have done exactly that with eight-year-old Jay-Jay Willems, who is suffering from IBS abdominal ache, a chronic bowel disorder.
The Amsterdammers gave Jay-Jay a well-deserved break from his laborious medical routines with a VIP tour of their stadium, followed by a media "unveiling" in which manager Frank de Boer announced that he had signed the youngster:
"I would like to introduce a new player. Jay-Jay is a left forward and during training he got our attention. With his qualities we think he eventually can play with the first team."
"We keep an eye of the stars of the future. Look at this guy from Ajax. Jay-Jay, is a fast, smart, roguish player. He knows a lot about football, you can see that in the way he moves. Pay attention to this little guy - another hero is born at Ajax, Jay-Jay Willems."
After his debut press conference, Jay-Jay put his new teammates through their paces during a session at the club training complex.
The experience — set up by The Ajax Foundation and Opkikker — got even better the next day when he warmed up with the team ahead of their home clash with NAC Breda, before leading them out to the pitch and taking part in a ceremonial kick-off.
To cap off a remarkable adventure and some truly excellent work from the club staff and organizing foundations, Ajax won the match 4-0.
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- Sports & Recreation