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Gordon and Guimarães make heartwarming gesture as young fan's dream comes true

Newcastle United's Anthony Gordon and Bruno Guimarães created a moment of a lifetime for a young fan living with autism after their hearts were touched by an emotional letter explaining how the club helped him fulfil his dream of being part of the "Geordie roar".

Tyler, 13, who has been on an inspiring journey since being diagnosed with autism in 2018, penned a heartfelt message to the club which described how his life changed after discovering the sensory room at St. James' Park.

Touched by his words, Gordon and Guimarães - Tyler's favourite players - grasped the chance to celebrate his brave journey from the sensory room to the stand through a gesture which will inspire fans facing challenges posed by autism and other neurological conditions.

In a passionate note sent to the club, Tyler wrote: "In 2019, I had my first trip to the sensory room at St. James' Park. Since then, it has been the best experience of my life.

"Having autism, I struggle with loud noises and crowds, but the sensory room helped me enjoy a match, celebrate wins, and support the losses. The stadium was too loud for me, but I needed to be part of the iconic Geordie roar!

"One day, the staff started taking me outside for ten minutes. Over time, I became more confident and relaxed, but I could not manage a full game. After about a year, I did a full match at a friendly. That was it – season ticket bought!"

After receiving the letter, Gordon and Guimarães took matters into their own hands by responding with an invitation to an exclusive autism-friendly tour of St. James' Park, before teaming up to organise an unforgettable surprise for the young fan.

Filmed as part of the Premier League’'s Fan Mail series, the players made a surprise appearance as the tour reached its climax in the sensory room, where they unveiled an illustration specially dedicated to Tyler. The youngster was also presented with his own Wor Flag, which was displayed in the Gallowgate End during the Magpies' 4-3 win over West Ham on Saturday.

The design of the wall illustration and flag portrays an image of Tyler, taken at his new season ticket seat in the Milburn Stand. Now on display in the sensory room and stands, the design will serve as an aspirational symbol for fans hoping to follow in his footsteps.

"It was a privilege for Bruno and I to meet such an inspirational young fan, whose passion for supporting the team represents exactly why we are so proud to play for this club," said Gordon.

"Tyler's letter really touched our hearts, so we were determined to celebrate his bravery in true Newcastle United style. I'll be keeping an eye out for his flag in the Gallowgate End from now on, and hopefully it will help to inspire other young fans to follow their dreams, while bringing us good luck along the way."

Since opening in 2018, the sensory room has enabled more than 300 fans to attend matchdays at St. James' Park; a feat that may not have been achieved without the dedicated therapeutic space, which provides an escape from the boisterous stadium atmosphere.

Providing a safe and relaxing environment, the sensory room and accompanying viewing area is supported by specialist staff who have access to ear defenders, sensory toys, communication cards and other tools which support fans in having the best possible matchday experience.

One of the sensory room's specialist matchday assistants is Tyler's mother, Cheryl, who has dedicated her time to supporting other young fans after being inspired by her son's journey.

"There was a time when we couldn't even take Tyler to a busy park, but as soon as we discovered the sensory room it was like he turned into a different child," said Cheryl.

"The sensory room is the best thing that ever happened to him in his football journey. He's now got his own little group in the stands - they look out for each other and celebrate together. It's lovely that they’ve developed a relationship with those around them. 

"The environment provided by the club gives children such an incredible experience. The best part of my role is seeing their passion and emotion during matches. I'm really privileged to play a part in such a valuable space, ensuring everyone feels comfortable, happy and safe."

The sensory room was introduced as part of Newcastle United's commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, encompassed by the club's United As One campaign.


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Gordon and Guimarães surprise young fan on St. James' Park tour

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