A YOUNG Colchester United fan went from misery to delight after a call from his hero saved the day.

Jacob Clayton, who has not missed a Colchester United home game this season, was celebrating his 10th birthday at the U’s away game in Hartlepool, with his mum, Lucy, dad, David, and younger brother Conor, four.

His swimming instructor is Colchester striker Freddie Sears’ wife, TJ, who had informed the Colchester star Jacob and his family would be attending the game.

Sears recognised Jacob in the crowd before kick-off and started to chat with the birthday boy, promising him his shirt at the end of the game.

Lucy Clayton, who is head of performance at Essex Fire Service, said: “He was star struck when Freddie approached him and at a total loss for words when he gave him the shirt.”

The joy was short lived, however, as after leaving the Hartlepool stadium with the shirt under his arm and walking no more than 20 meters to the car, Jacob realised the shirt had gone from under his arm.

After seeing her son in floods of tears, Lucy quickly reached out on social media, urging anyone who had found the shirt, or witnessed it disappearing, to come forward.

She said: “I wouldn’t like to think someone would have stolen the shirt from under a child’s arm, however, I was behind him the whole way and would’ve noticed if he dropped it. I have no real idea of how it happened really.”

The social media posts shortly gained traction online with Sears himself eventually seeing the post and getting in touch.


Lucy said Sears told her not to worry adding he would see Jacob right.

Another person got into contact with Lucy, after they had received Alan Judge’s football boots, offering Jacob one of them as consolation.

Lucy said: “We were all really touched with the shares and messages.

“This is what Jacob loves about Colchester United, that the players connect with the fans it’s a great community.

“Every week he puts a picture up with a player and they will comment.

“Shamal George, the goalkeeper, even sent him a birthday message.

“Noah Chilvers went to watch Jacob and the team play at the Colchester United development centre, staying to chat with them afterwards.

“He loves the player interaction, it’s what makes the club special.”