Belfast Telegraph

Cancer sufferer Noel Cullen's joy at receiving signed shirt from Rangers star Davis

Noel Cullen with signed Rangers shirt he was given by Steven Davis
Noel Cullen with signed Rangers shirt he was given by Steven Davis
Steven Davis

By Christopher Leebody

Belfast-born Noel Cullen got the "surprise of his life" when he opened a special 65th birthday present from his Rangers hero Steven Davis.

The Rangers-mad dad - who now lives in Glasgow - has been battling terminal stomach cancer, and was given only 12 months to live by doctors.

The signed shirt, a surprise organised by Steven Davis himself with Noel's family and the Rangers Charity Foundation, was described by Noel as "one of the best things" that has ever happened to him.

The life-long Rangers fan had previously met midfield star and fellow countryman Davis at a Rangers Charity Foundation event in October, with the two bonding over Noel's stories of playing football where he grew up in Woodvale.

"It is very hard to go to the matches now because of my illness. My son Noel and me, we had a day out at the Charity Foundation in Ibrox in October," he said.

"Steven and the rest of the football team were there to meet people with illnesses.

"There had been a few times I had tried to catch him for autographs at matches and things, but had missed him quite a few times.

"When we did talk, we talked about playing football. Where I played football, where he played football.

"We were talking for such a length of time that I must have made some impression on him.

"After that I never thought anything about it. It was my birthday on Saturday, December 14. I went to dinner with my family.

"There was a little surprise gathering, I didn't know the rest of the family was going to be there.

"The signed shirt was there in this box. I was blown away when I opened it. I said, 'this can't be right'.

"Steven Davis took it on himself to do it. The shirt was the Europa League one after they played Young Boys.

"That got me as well, how someone could go out of their way to recognise me.

"I thought it was overwhelming. Without a doubt he is one of my favourite players in the team. I've never watched a player play as well in real life as George Best. George Best was my hero from day one, but Steven has now taken that on.

"This is the best thing that has ever happened in my life."

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