Tyrone cancer sufferer tells of joy at letter from Spurs boss
A Co Tyrone man who is battling cancer has told of his joy after receiving a letter from the manager of his beloved Tottenham Hotspur praising his 55 years supporting the club.
Michael McDaid said the personal letter of thanks from Mauricio Pochettino "means everything in the world".
Now suffering from incurable throat cancer, the letter has given Michael, from Lisnafin near Strabane, the perfect tonic to get through his latest round of chemotherapy.
And, whether his beloved Spurs win or lose next Saturday's Champions League final against Liverpool in Madrid, the already framed letter will remain pride of place in his household.
Michael (61) has followed the family tradition of supporting Spurs since he was a five-year-old boy back in the 1960s and has added many more followers to the Tottenham ranks over the years.
"Tottenham has been in the family blood for as long as I've been around," he said.
"Now all my nephews and nieces follow them, the grandchildren have started too and it's lovely for me to see.
"Even my wife Siobhan has been through all the ups and downs over the years with me. We're definitely on the up at the minute and receiving this letter was a wonderful surprise and something I'll treasure for as long as I live.
"To think that the best football manager in the world has taken time to write to me personally means the world to me and my family. I can't thank him and all those who helped arrange this enough."
In the letter, the Spurs boss says his thoughts are with Michael as he continues to fight against his illness.
"I have good days and bad days," said Michael. "But one thing has remained with me -and that's supporting Spurs," he said. "Roll on next Saturday night!
"I was hooked on players like Martin Chivers and Martin Peters in the early days, and more recently the likes of Jurgen Klinsmann. Steve Perryman was also an idol of mine in the 1980s.
"I've only been over to see them a few times at White Hart Lane. It's been hard to get there with the kids growing up - but I'd love to go and experience their new stadium. Our two sons have been talking about it and that's something we're aiming to do in the new season, all being well and health permitting.
"I have two daughters who follow Spurs as well but they haven't gone as far as the boys by getting themselves tattoos. There's no chance any of them will be changing allegiance now."
As he undergoes his latest round of chemotherapy, Michael admitted there is only one thing on his mind - next weekend's Champions League final against Liverpool.
"I never though I'd see the day Tottenham were in it and I've been praying we go on and win it. That's all that matters!"
Local SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan helped arrange the special surprise for Michael.
"One of Michael's friends came to the office to see if we could help, and my staff member Ann-Marie contacted Spurs to see what could be done," he said.
"The look on Michael's face when we handed it over was reward in itself."