Former Harlow Town footballer makes emotional return

Charity / Fri 22nd Dec 2023 at 10:42am

A FORMER Harlow Town footballer made an emotional return to his old club to take a penalty on the pitch thanks to the team at a Sewardstone care home.

Norman Mitchell joined his local team, Harlow Town, aged 16, and was taken back to watch the club’s match against Clapton Community by the team at Ashbrook Court Care Home, on Sewardstone Road, a 70-bed care home providing residential, nursing and dementia care.

The 69-year-old, who was also once on the books at West Ham United, was joined on the special day by his daughter Michaela, who thanked the current team for welcoming her dad to the club.

“He had a lovely day, I was nervous waiting for him to take the penalty but he absolutely loved it and everyone cheered him on,” she said.

“Football has always been such a big part of his life so it was great to see him back at Harlow Town and enjoying the day.

“The current manager and players were really welcoming. Even though they were getting ready to play, they all gave their time to make sure we were happy.

“I used to go and watch my dad play so we still know lots of people at the club. Everyone knows who he is in Harlow, so having his friends with us was like a big reunion for everyone.

“Dad loves getting out and about, so it was really special to see him taking it all in and having such a great time.”

After being welcomed into the dressing room at the Harlow Arena before kick off, Norman met the current squad and then settled into his seat for the match.

Norman went out on to the pitch at half time and rolled back the years by taking a penalty to the delight of the fans inside the stadium.

Care home manager, Jonathane Ribeiro, outlined how the team at the home, a Regional Finalist at the Great British Care Awards, go above and beyond to arrange memorable experiences for the residents.

He added: “The whole team knows how much Norman loves football so it was really special to be able to make this happen for him.

“We love to organise meaningful outings for our residents reconnecting them with their passions in life.

“Moving into our home doesn’t mean you have to stop engaging with the things you love and it’s really important to be able to relive all those special memories and we also support our residents to create new memories and new experiences.

“Meeting up with the current players but also reconnecting with some old faces from the club was a magical experience for Norman.

“Harlow Town holds lots of incredible memories for Norman and seeing how happy he was when he got back shows how much this trip meant to him.”

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28 Comments for Former Harlow Town footballer makes emotional return:

Barry Carter
2023-12-22 14:54:18

Well done Norman, hope you scored from the spot 👍 Remember playing against you in the Harlow Sunday league. We also both played for St Hare but not sure we played together. Great memories ⚽️⚽️ Take care and all the best 👍

Alan Abbott
2023-12-22 15:19:58

Played with Norman at Stansted and he was making his debut at the age of 16 l still have the program also he played 5 a-side at the Old Sportcentre in a dinner hour league. He was a true mate and l have many stories but what goes on tour stay’s on tour. Well done Norman.

Alan Abbott
2023-12-22 15:21:31

Played with Norman at Stansted and he was making his debut at the age of 16 l still have the program also he played 5 a-side at the Old Sportcentre in a dinner hour league. He was a true mate and l have many stories but what goes on tour stay’s on tour.

Gary Cooper
2023-12-22 15:26:05

A great player. Played against him from schooldays ....5 aside...Saturdays and Sundays. Wish you well Nobby and Merry Christmas and healthier 2024. Coops. XXXX

John Mayhew
2023-12-22 15:51:34

I played against Norman several times before I became a referee and have fond memories of him. Wish you well Norman, Merry Christmas to you and hopefully a good new year. John.

Dean Mcdermott
2023-12-22 18:47:13

What a lovely fella.

Jeff Fincham
2023-12-22 19:08:52

Lovely bloke played five aside in goal for M & M aerials apart from playing Norman and his brother supplied the kit I bumped into Norman many times around the town always had a smile on his face

Michaela Mitchell
2023-12-22 20:14:35

Thank you all for the lovely comments about my dad. Hes my hero and a football legend! So glad I got to share this day with him.

Bomber barry
2023-12-22 22:09:59

My best mate . Bomber x

Gail Nicholls
2023-12-22 22:33:54

This is so lovely to see Norman going back to his roots, he was such an amazing part of football in the town lovely to see this footage we so love him ❤️

Steve Dean
2023-12-23 00:11:44

I hope you have a lovely Christmas Norman and my best wishes to you for 2024. I have fond memories of playing 5-a-side with you for M & M Aerials at the old Sports Centre. Take care mate.

Pete Stiles
2023-12-23 06:17:33

Some great times at Burnt Mill school and Harlow town minors mate, always got the job of having to mark you in the Sunday league, nightmare!, hundred mile an hour. Hope you and your family have a great time this Christmas .

Paul Feest
2023-12-23 07:29:05

Loved playing with Norm. Total gentleman

Mick calver
2023-12-23 07:35:19

Hi norman,great guy had some tough encounters with you, keep fighting mate. Best wishes.

Micky Wheal
2023-12-23 08:40:05

Great guy and good friend Norman played with him for Stansted, St Hare and MM Aerials what a player. Best wishes to you and family Norm

Mick Saunders
2023-12-23 09:05:02

Superb.. wot a legend.. played with Norm in 5-a-sides and for Standards… wish I’d have known would have loved to have seen him.. has been a very dear friend for many years xx Merry Xmas Norm, hope to see you soon xx

ian bartram
2023-12-23 09:28:23

Norman, you are one of the nicest people I have ever had the Privelige to know and play football with at Standards and against in the Harlow Sunday league. Always the voice of reason and a superb footballer. Best wishes to you and yours.xxx

ken young
2023-12-23 11:42:18

Norman always a friendly hello and a chat we go back to primary school days had some good times along the way always kept in touch, all the best Norm merry Xmas Norman and all the best for the new year 👍

Sharon Bartram
2023-12-23 12:03:20

Hi Norman, I remember you, one of my brother’s mates and a friendly, happy man. You installed an aerial at my parents house with John Reid many years ago. You two were very funny and had us in stitches. Lovely to see that you’re back in Harlow and we wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a happy new year! Xx🎄

Derek Coles
2023-12-23 13:07:34

Nornan Mitchell....What a player, what a man. Still smiling, well done. Cycling past Burnt Mill school, watching a young 15 year old playing for his school, a stand out player. Signed for St Hare, what a signing. Many memorable times at St Hare, thank you. All the previous comments reflect how you are universally respected throughtout the Harlow football family, team mates or opposition. Wishing you and your family a great Christmas & New Year Norman.......My aerial is still on my roof.

2023-12-23 14:00:49

Whata player and what a good friend played at St hares and epping town all the best my friend x

Tony Reid
2023-12-23 16:12:54

We both have Afro Caribbean heritage. Back in the 60s & 70s Norman was like my big brother. He is a great gentleman. Keep taking those penalties, Tony

Colin Gibson
2023-12-23 20:29:45

Hi Norm played with you for many clubs great friend hope you’re doing ok and you put the penalty away take care my friend lots of love Gibbo

Jeff Wood
2023-12-23 20:50:43

Great player and a true Harlow football legend, had that rare ability to go last defenders with ease and was a problem for every team he played against. I played with Norman at Cambridge united in the early 70s what a star, best wishes Norman, top man

Kevin Andrews
2023-12-24 12:54:09

Great player and a wonderful person with a lovely sense of humour. Played together at Harlow Town Minors and against him on a few occasions, the last of which Norm was playing for Nortel (or Norton) when I was playing for Marquis of Granby. I don't recall too many goals but this one was special, a pinpoint long cross from Norm and a towering header from Bernie Skeggs about 5 mins from time. They won 1-0 and pipped us for the title. Had a few words after the game with a very happy Norm who was aware I'd been out injured and I wasn't sure if I would be playing. I told him 'I wanted to play badly' and with a twinkle in his eye he replied that I should be very happy then. Thanks Norm ! All the very best to you Norm.

2023-12-24 18:46:33

Norman , also a hero , by catching a baby that was dropped out of a burning building in Church fields.

Ray ambler
2023-12-25 07:41:51

Great guy norman known him for nearly 60 years, played football against him at junior school then played in all the school sports teams with him at burnt mill ( except swimming didn’t like that lol ) Then harlow town minors , St Hare been a true friend ever since. Glad to see him out and about doing something he loved ! Norman take care my friend and have a great Christmas

Brian Wood
2023-12-30 11:35:14

I remember playing against Norman many times when playing for BP(he always beat us), scored against us quite a few times. Not only a very good Footballer but a Man with a Lovely Personality and Great smile.Whenever I saw him after we had long since stopped playing he always had time for a word and Laugh. All the best to you Norman, cheers Woody.

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