01:16PM, Monday 20 February 2017
Maidenhead United fan Nicki Joel was presented with a signed shirt by Magpies’ players Sean Marks and Carl Pentney on Saturday after winning the club’s #MyMaidenhead social media competition.
Nicki’s entry stood out from the crowd because the rush of adrenaline she has felt supporting the Magpies this season has helped with her recovery from Crohn’s disease.
The 27-year-old, who was presented with the signed shirt prior to the Magpies 2-1 win over Whitehawk on Saturday, said: “I didn’t think one place and team could change the way you feel inside and out.
“I’m 27 and suffer from Crohn’s disease, of which a major side effect is chronic fatigue.
“I am exhausted most of the day and sleep a lot. My mum and boyfriend urged me to attend this season so I made it to MUFC v Hemel in which we won 5-0.
“That feeling I experienced; pure passion to support my team and the rush of adrenaline was the first time I hadn’t felt physically exhausted in a long time.
“Everything has changed and my chronic fatigue has been helped so much at MUFC.”
Nicki attends most games now and said the passion and friendliness of the players and fans has had a real impact on how she feels.
“MUFC is special to me because it makes me feel more alive and normal each time I go, thank you for that,” she added.
Guest judges Sean Marks and Carl Pentney said: “We felt that the positive effect the football club has had on Nicki’s life and her health is a story that can inspire others to follow suit."
Nathan Bingham, the club’s social media editor, said the high standard of submissions shows just how special Maidenhead United is for so many people.
Second place in the competition went to Wendy Joel, who submitted a poem, while Phillip Neaves’ memories of the club dating back to 1974 earned him third place.
The competion was launched the aim of finding a new way to engage with its fans.
The winning entries.
1' Nicki Joel's entry: “I didn't think one place & team could change the way you feel inside & out. I'm 27 & suffer from Crohn's disease, of which a major side effect is chronic fatigue. I am exhausted most of the day & sleep a lot. Mum & BF urged me to attend this season so I made it to Mufc vs Hemel in which we won 5-0! The feeling that I experienced.. pure passion to support my team, rush of adrenaline & it was the 1st time I hadn't felt physically exhausted in a long time. Everything changed & now my chronic fatigue is helped so much at Mufc.. the atmosphere, the players & the passion & friendliness of them, the other fans & their support for the game during matches! I'm there now most games & I feel more like me. Mufc is special to me because it makes me feel more alive & normal each time I go. Thank you for that.”
What Sean and Carl said: “We felt that the positive effect the football club has had on Nicki's life and her health is a story that can inspire others to follow suit.”
2' Wendy Joel's entry: Match day arrives on with the scarf, off to York Road - "excited, not half".
Terrace or stand- burger and chips, music is playing a list of hits.
Promotion hopes buzz through the air, maybe league celebrations for all to share?
Excitement grows the team appear, Maidenhead fans give the loudest cheer.
Whistle blown the ball is struck, soon hitting the crossbar- "oh hard luck".
Bell Street end- balls disappear, each is a shot so very near.
"Come on ref, open your eyes",- free kick, a header, 1-0 magpies.
Memories of loss, win or tie, top team the magpies.
What Sean and Carl said: “We would like to praise the creativity and cleverness of Wendy’s submission and feel a framed copy of the poem would look great in the clubhouse.”
3' Phillip Neaves entry: “First game v Windsor cup 1974; great managers, great players, great people; stand fire; relegation 1987; relegation reprieves; promotion at Eastbourne; League cup win 1997; 1990s cup finals; promotion week 2000; promotion v Croydon; unbeaten run and promoted2006-07; the club shop; programme collection; Mark Smith's books; Maidenhead Advertiser; tea bar; the old main stand; Dave and Rose Cale; Fred Morris; away trips to the south coast;; floodlit friendly v Keflavik; Berks and Bucks Cup in 1970s - Slough, Wycombe, Maidenhead Town; supporters' football team; oldest football ground; FA Cup history; Fa Cup first round proper at last; Port Vale; following from a far on twitter; video clips; dream team, dream season 2016-17."
What Sean and Carl said: “We would like to give praise to Phillip for his thorough submission of fond memories the club has provided him over the years”
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