Despite losing his sight nothing was going to stop Birmingham City fanatic Stephen Fildes from having a ball at St. Andrew’s last Saturday– in more ways than one!
As part of the club’s EZE Wishes campaign, Stephen a member of the Birmingham City Disabled Supporters Club, was chauffeur driven to the game against Huddersfield Town where he delivered the match ball to referee Darren Deadman. Stephen, aged 35, then sat back and listened to the action unfold in the luxury of EZE Group’s executive box in the Kop, before being presented with a signed Blues shirt by man of the match Emyr Huws.
A lifelong Blues fan, Stephen travels to both home and away games even though he is registered blind after losing his sight nearly six years ago due to suffering with diabetes. During this time Stephen, who lives in Solihull, has also undergone a kidney and pancreas transplant which meant him missing out on the team’s Carling Cup triumph over Arsenal at Wembley.
John Starkey, who nominated his friend for the EZE Wish, said: “Stephen has had a transplant and has been extremely poorly in recent years, but none of this will ever stop him from supporting the Blues.”
A season ticket holder in the Kop, Stephen attends home games with his dad Alan and away fixtures with the Disabled Supporter’s Club.
Despite Blues going down 2-1 to Huddersfield, Stephen had a memorable day out at St. Andrew’s. “At first when I received the call, I thought it was a wind up by friends, so couldn’t believe it when I was told I had been nominated for an EZE Wish. I’ve supported Blues all my life and nothing gets in the way of me going to the games,” he said.
Dominic O’Reilly, chief executive of EZE Group, Birmingham City FC’s diamond partners, said: “We devised the EZE Wishes campaign for supporters just like Stephen. He has shown tremendous courage despite losing his sight a few years ago and we were delighted to be able to give him this special treat.”