An eight year-old Derry boy who was caught up in a security alert at Old Trafford at the weekend will see his beloved ‘Red Devils’ play for the first time on Tuesday evening.
Emmett Kirk bought his son, Kian Dawson, tickets to Manchester United’s final game of the English Premier League season for Christmas but the father and son were left disappointed when Sunday’s game with Bournemoth A.F.C. was cancelled due to a security alert inside the stadium.
“Kian is too young to understand what a security alert means but when I told him the match had been cancelled he was devastated - he didn’t speak for about an hour,” said Emmett.
Emmett and Kian, who are both from Carnhill, were due to return home to Derry on Monday morning but because of the generosity of Kian’s grandfather, Michael Dawson and his three uncles Gary, Michael and Christopher Kirk they were able to remain in Manchester to attend the re-scheduled match which will take place on Tuesday.
“When we were checking out of the hotel on Monday morning Kian thought he was going to catch a flight back home to Derry - he was so disappointed.
“I told Kian that his granda Dawson and three uncles had sent us on a bit of extra money to allow us to stay on an extra two nights and go to the re-scheduled game - he started jumping around the room, he was so happy.
“I was also able to take two days off on holiday from work to do this. It has cost us a small fortune to stay one but it’s worth every penny to see the smile on Kian’s face.”
Emmett and Kian were inside Old Trafford on Sunday almost an hour before it was announced that a suspect device it had been discovered in a toilet.
“We were in the East Stand when it all started - my mobile phone signal was very weak so I was unable to check the Internet to see what was happening,” said Emmett.
“There was a fella standing next to me and he got a text telling him it was a security alert and that it was on Sky Sports News. The stewards evacuated the Stretford End first but we didn’t get out of the stadium until around 3:30p.m.
“I know some people reading this might not believe me but I was absolutely terrified,” said Emmett.
“When we got outside it was complete pandemonium - people were running everywhere.
“Thankfully, the whole thing turned out to be a hoax but it was still a scary experience.”
Emmett didn’t explain to Kian what was happening until they were far away from Old Trafford.
Kian is too young to understand what a security alert means but when I told him the match had been cancelled he was devastatedEmmett Kirk
“I didn’t want him to panic, I wanted him to be safe and when I eventually told him what had happened he couldn’t understand it.
“But I am so grateful for what Kian’s granda and my three brothers have done - I also really appreciate my employer E+I Engineering for being so understanding about what happened.
“I have no holidays left until January and I don’t even support Manchester United,” joked Emmett.
“It’s been a crazy few days - we did a tour of Old Trafford, then we went to the match on Sunday and now we are going to the game on Tuesday - Kian has gone from never being to Old Trafford to visiting it three times in as many days,” he laughed.