It’s the feel-good football story of 2017 that’s got our little club trending across social media and taking up newspaper inches this Christmas.
As a reward for our loyalty and support so far this season, summer signing Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen has decided to give £8,000 of his own money to give each Town fan who makes the very long journey down to Southampton for this weekend’s game a free pint on him.
With professional footballers, many people might think that large sums of money are insignificant or trivial to them, but they work as hard as any other person at their profession and £8,000 is an incredibly large sum of money to give away philanthropically. This cannot be overstated enough.
Having already settled in well to the blue and white stripes of Town (his pet terrier Clyde being a great example), Zanka has gone above and beyond his job as a player to give Town fans something extra to cheer about this Christmas.
He recognises and respects that we are a working-class, family club; a club where many people are not rich or can afford to pay over the nose to watch their beloved team.
However, this does not stop us shelling out large sums of money to travel up and down the country to watch them play.
Whilst Town players have already visited children’s hospitals and breakfast clubs in the community already this month, this gesture just feels that extra special because of its timing right before Christmas.
Christmas is a period of not just time spent with family, exchanging gifts or watching Love Actually but for many, is a time of financial hardship, social isolation and loneliness.
For some, watching their football team might be the mental tonic they need to get through this period. One pint might not seem like a lot to some but what Zanka has so kindly done is make that day out a bit more enjoyable.
It makes you incredibly proud as a fan to see your players acting like role-models to young kids (even though they’re not obliged to). It also demonstrates how they can strike the balance between wearing the shirt with professionalism and emotion on the pitch and showing civic responsibility off it.
Many Premier League teams fans seem disconnected from the players they support on the pitch and the relationship can often seem strained and even broken.
It’s refreshing to see how the bond that grew between the players and the fans during our promotion season has continued in the Premier League and new signings like Zanka have bought into that ethic with such enthusiasm and gusto.
Long may it continue.