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Troon-based Birmingham City fan Barry meets heroes at Ayrshire pre-season camp

An Ayrshire pensioner received a huge boost in his battle with motor neurone disease (MND) when his favourite football team were put through their pre-season paces – just yards from his garden.

Barry Morley, 72, was delighted to see his Birmingham City heroes playing just a free-kick away from his home in Troon.

And the Sky Bet Championship club were only too happy to meet up with Barry and his family and pose for some pictures.

Delighted Barry, who moved to Scotland in 1977, told Birmingham LIve: “This has made my week!

“I was so happy when I found out Blues were coming and I think they look okay.

“I have been really impressed with what I have seen – they are all really friendly.”

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The City squad were using Troon FC’s Portland Park as part of their pre-season build up and star striker Lukas Jutkiewicz took time out to talk to Barry about their chances next season.

And manager Lee Bowyer was also on hand to ensure Barry was given the VIP treatment.

Barry beamed: “I told somebody Juke [Lukas Jutkiewicz] is my favourite player and he came over, had a 10-minute chat, and we had a photo together. Lee came over too, and we were chatting for 15 or 20 minutes.”

Barry Morley had an afternoon to remember when his football heroes trained just yards from his garden
Barry Morley had an afternoon to remember when his football heroes trained just yards from his garden

Last summer, Barry was diagnosed with MND which is a life-changing degenerative condition that affects the brain and nerves.

The dad-of-three was born in Bordesley Green, Birmingham, before moving north of the border in the 1970s, with his Scottish wife and two sons Scott and Craig.

The family then had a daughter called Carolann and Barry has watched his beloved club’s joys and sorrows from afar.

He last visited St Andrew’s in the mid-90s but has remained an avid fan ever since.

In a bizarre twist, Barry’s family had intended to take him on holiday the week Birmingham were using Portland Park – but as soon as he spotted Blues training at the end of his garden, those plans were shelved.

Daughter Carolann wheeled him to the ground.

Barry’s MND diagnosis came as a bombshell but time spent with his heroes has given him something to smile about and remember.

He said: “September 3, 2020, was a day none of us will ever forget.

“It’s been very challenging walking, eating, reading because I’ve developed Dropped Head Syndrome. It’s very difficult pointing my finger and I have little strength in my arms.

“But seeing Blues is great. Hibernian have been here to prepare for a Scottish Cup match and I watched them – that was good but not as good as this.”

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