The team at Hungerford Care Home, in Berkshire, recently fulfilled a wish for resident Phillip McKnight, by arranging for him to be taken on a nostalgic trip back to Stamford Bridge where he used to play for Chelsea Football Club.
Phillip , in his younger days, was a famous footballer, known as ‘Corky’ McKnight. Born in Glasgow in 1924, he played for Aloa Athletic before WWII and on demobilisation from the Royal Navy in 1946 he moved south and joined Chelsea Football Club. He stayed at Stamford Bridge for eight seasons before being transferred to Leyton Orient where he was a regular for seven seasons and a member of the Division 3 championship side of 1956-57.
In his later years Phillip held coaching and managerial roles at Orient, Hayes and Ruislip Manor so it’s fair to say that the beautiful game is in his blood!
Phillip moved into Hungerford Care Home a few months ago at 93 years of age. Care group brighterkind, which runs the home has a Wishing Well scheme that makes possible reasonable wishes for residents to do something they have long wanted to do, or to go somewhere special to them. The scheme operates in all of their 70 homes.
On learning of Phillip’s wish to go back to visit Chelsea FC at Stamford Bridge, members of the care team contacted the club to make arrangements and on 28th January Phillip set off with two of the home’s nurses, Vali Joita and Gabi Cutoi, who are both keen football followers themselves.
Wearing his Chelsea hat and scarf he arrived at Stamford Bridge where he was warmly greeted with a glass of champagne and taken to the Ex-Players Foundation Box where he enjoyed a lovely meal. The highlight of the day was of course watching Chelsea win 3-0 against Newcastle!
Phillip said: “I had a fantastic time, it was great seeing the grounds again and visiting London after such a long time. I was surprised how things had changed. It was exciting watching the game and being a part of it all again. And I was very happy to see Chelsea win. Thank’s to Hungerford care home for a great experience.”
Bella Balaci, Home Manager, said “Phillip was thrilled to be a part of it all again and really enjoyed the atmosphere. He got very excited every time Chelsea scored. He had a fantastic experience and really appreciated everyone’s involvement. We all felt honoured to be part of making ‘Corky’ McKnight’s footballing wish come true.”