A young football fan with cerebral palsy said it was “a dream come true” to see Jack Grealish celebrate their special goal – and urged the England star to do “the Finlay” every time he scores.
Grealish had promised Finlay Fisher he would have the shoulder waddle party after the 12-year-old wrote to him learning that the player’s sister, Holly, also has cerebral palsy. True to his word, the Manchester City striker pulled out after scoring the sixth goal in England’s 6-2 win against Iran at the World Cup in Qatar on Monday.
Grealish said after the game: “For me it’s just a celebration, but for him it will mean everything to him I’m sure. So Finlay – that one is for you.”
Finlay said he was amazed to see his idol pull off the move as he watched from his living room in Manchester. “It feels like a dream come true, I can’t say how happy I am. I’m still not over it,” he told BBC Breakfast on Tuesday.
He said speaking to Grealish the week before had been like “an encounter with Superman”. “I couldn’t believe it, I was star struck,” he said. “When you meet your idol, it’s like meeting Superman or Batman, you can’t imagine. He wanted to come and see me in his spare time, so I want to thank him very much for that.”
However, Finlay almost didn’t get to see the game at all. He had spent two hours in hospital after hurting his leg in a fall in the morning. The game started just 10 minutes after he got home. “I hurt my leg in the morning and I had to sit in the ER for two hours, and I was like, ‘Come on, let me out, let me out,'” he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
The ardent Man City fan said “it really made me happy” when he met Grealish after writing to him earlier this year. Finlay said he was inspired by the footballer who spoke of his love for his younger sister, Hollie, who has cerebral palsy.
“I think he’s very inspiring,” Finlay told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “Because he’s lived with people, he knows what it’s like, so he gets his message across. I think he supports me and gives me confidence, so I hope he does the same with other people.
The schoolboy said he had dubbed the party ‘the Finlay’ and felt he was now ‘best friends’ with the Premier League’s most expensive footballer.
And if Grealish thinks he can quit the dance, maybe he should think again. Finlay urged him to do it every time he scores: “That must be his signature celebration!”