Life long O’s fan Paul Sloan got a big surprise when his girlfriend, Alexia Joannou, requested a private tour around the Matchroom stadium to celebrate his 21st birthday!
The East Stand season ticket holder expected a quiet day out for his birthday but instead was privileged to receive a personal tour of the stadium hosted by Howard Gould, the club’s Community Liaison Officer.
The journey took the pair behind the scenes and to areas normally regarded as ‘out of bounds’ to the general public including the Chairman’s Club and Boardroom and to the 5th floor media suite that leads out onto the media balcony overlooking the pitch and where the breathtaking view prompted the question of the availability of a season ticket, unfortunately declined.
“I’m completely stunned,” said Paul. “I had no idea. I’ve been an O’s supporter since the age of four and this is just brilliant.”
When the visit took the pair to the tunnel area and home changing room there was an even bigger revelation waiting for Paul as his favourite player Jack Payne, along with teammates Connor Essam and Sammy Moore were waiting to meet him with birthday greetings. The players signed a club shirt before revealing their superstitions and a few of the goings-on that happen before a match day kick off.
“It’s all been a bit surreal,” added Paul, “I can’t thank Alexia enough. To meet Jack, Connor and Sammy just topped it all off. I still can’t quite believe its happening. Superb present!”
Howard said, “We at the Club and Trust pride ourselves on our community work, especially when it’s extraordinary and I was only too pleased to be able to help Alexia with her request. You could see Paul was completely lost for words and to help make somebody’s day like that is all part of the job!”