The Merseyside derby is known as the "friendly derby," but the kinship between Liverpool and Everton doesn't usually extend to fans getting tattoos paying tribute to their rivals. Die-hard Toffees supporter Matty Bowman, however, has had "You'll Never Walk Alone" tattooed across his back to help raise money for a young boy with a very rare illness.
Four-year-old George Johnson has a digestive condition that means he can only be fed through his heart. His family set up Team George to help raise £15,000 ($25,000) so he can fly to the US to receive specialist treatment. When Bowman heard of George's plight, he volunteered to have the refrain from the Liverpool anthem permanently etched onto his skin if enough money was raised.
The fundraising target has now been met and the 26-year-old — who already had tattoos dedicated to Everton — visited the tattoo parlour over the weekend, meaning he will watch one of the most important Merseyside derbies in years with a pro-Liverpool epitaph on his back.
He spoke to The Liverpool Echo about the experience:
“Mentally it was very bad. I didn’t look at it – I just asked them to cover it up. I think this was one that hurt the most because of what it was, and with it being on the soft skin by my neck.
“His mum has not stopped thanking me. We are going out for a meal next week as a thank you. If I didn’t want to do it, I wouldn’t have done, but I did it for a reason – it was for George, I’ve got a boy the same age.”
George's family are now awaiting an appointment with a US specialist, but they are still accepting donations.
Bowman isn't the first football fan to get a tattoo dedicated to a rival in the name of charity: Manchester City fan Chris Worthington vowed to get a Man Utd tatt in September to raise money for a charity that helped save his daughter.
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