Celtic hailed for VIP treatment of fan with Asperger's

Celtic have been praised by two charities for their VIP treatment of a fan with Asperger's syndrome.

Mark Horodecki with Hoops boss Ronny Deila. Picture: cafefootball.eu

Mark Horodecki, a 33-year-old from Swansea, has supported the Hoops all his life but until January’s home game against St Johnstone he’d never been able to attend a live match.

Disability charity Walsingham Support contacted Celtic to enquire about getting Mark a couple of tickets. Instead, Celtic offered a full VIP package, which included a seat in the directors’ box, a Celtic goody bag upon arrival at his hotel, and the chance to meet both manager Ronny Deila and the first-team squad.

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Best of all for Mark, at his first ever Celtic game he got to watch his side win 3-1 with Gary Mackay-Steven netting twice in the victory.

Reflecting on a memorable trip, Mark said: “I enjoyed everything about the trip. My favourite part was having photos with everyone on the pitch. Everyone made me feel very welcome and this has helped me gain confidence in myself.”

Chris Mahoney, the support worker from Walsingham Support who accompanied Mark, said: “We work to increase the quality of life and happiness of every person we support. Attending the Celtic game was a huge achievement for Mark and Celtic’s generosity made it even more of a trip to remember.

“It was great to see Mark get into the full spirit of the game, shouting his support for Celtic, he even gave some tips to the manager. Mark thoroughly enjoyed the day and Celtic winning made it all the more special.”

Joyce Cook, the managing director of CAFE Football, a disabled persons charity and partner of Uefa, added this: “It is great to hear that Mark had such a positive experience at Celtic Park, and was able to enjoy his first live match in a welcoming environment. Disabled people are the largest minority group in any population, and football has a unique power to bring people together.

“Increased awareness of accessible facilities and services can help many more disabled people like Mark attend their first live matches.”

• For more information on CAFE Football visit their website at www.cafefootball.eu/en