On Friday the ex-Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe picked up his OBE at Buckingham Palace and since his last outing on the pitch was at St James Park last weekend, I thought I would challenge the norm and celebrate something with one of ‘them from down the road’ here.

When he was subbed on last weekend for Bournemouth in the 82nd minute, Jermain Defoe was widely booed by large swathes of our home support, and whilst I ‘get it’ because he was part of the unwashed set up for some time, it also did not sit well with me.

Despite having a skinful on the day, I didn’t join some of those around me in the castigation of the man for whom I developed heaps of respect. After the way he opened his life and his heart to a dying little boy who was so absolutely full of love and wonder that he touched people from all walks of life and reminded us that ‘cancer has no colours’ and that at the end of the day, when things get seriously real, football is JUST A GAME…

As the boos rang out, I stood amongst those around me and declared “I’m not having that, no way, not for what he did for Bradley!”

Let us not forget, this multi-millionaire did not have to open his life up to this smiling but suffering child who simply posed love.

He could have done what so many others do (and I’m not knocking them for it), simply paid him a single visit and have his people send him some merchandise now and then. But he didn’t, he developed a bond and declared him as a best friend. He did none of this for publicity, he did it out of love. If in any doubt just think back to the funeral pictures of him breaking down.

His OBE was awarded for services to his (Defoe’s) foundation, but true to Bradley’s memory and despite it being well over a year since his passing in the summer of 2017, Defoe remained classy and dedicated it to Bradley. A little boy who clearly had a huge impact on his life, and reminded us all just how fragile our existence here is, but also how important remaining joyful and finding the wonder and happiness in everything can be.

So yes, I will post red and white on the page today, I will not ever boo this soccer star with a true heart!

I will respect Jermain Defoe for his stance and for the way he opened his life and his heart to a little boy who offered to give him nothing more than love and a warm smile.

Respect to you Mr Defoe OBE

Paul Ferguson – Author of the Scunthorpe Mags fan group

(Ed: Jermain Defoe picked up his OBE on Friday at Buckingham Palace for services to his foundation which was launched in 2010 after a hurricane in St Lucia, the Caribbean island his grandparents came from.

It has since expanded and supports homeless, vulnerable and abused children in St Lucia, surrounding Caribbean Islands and the UK.

“There’s so many people I can thank, like my mum, my sister, people involved in the foundation.

“The volunteers, people involved in the shoebox appeal. All those that worked for the foundation over the years.

“I would love to dedicate this amazing day, this OBE to my little friend Bradley, everyone knows the relationship I had with Bradley. I’ve got this for the Jermain Defoe Foundation but above all of that I think it’s the relationship I had with him that was special.

“You never expect to receive any award, so to receive something like this, of course it still hurts. I’ve got some great memories of Bradley, but to receive something like this today, it makes me feel good.”)

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  • Geordiegiants

    A real gentleman, he knows that nobody was booing him for any other reason than playing for the inbreds. I’ve seen some of our own hero’s clappped on then booed. It’s all tongue in cheek.

    • Peaky

      Well said Geordie….Defoe’s friendship with little Bradley was both heartbreaking and heartwarming…..

    • Wor Lass

      Hopefully, you`re right there, Geordie.

      • Geordiegiants

        I would think so, “MOST” of our fans are not like they used to be, it’s a more sedate place these days.
        The jabba saga alone should show that, 20 years ago the fans and even the spectator would of been a lot more lively than they are today in voicing their opinions.

        • Wor Lass

          Ah, but is “progress” good or bad?

          • Geordiegiants

            It’s definetly swings and round abouts.

  • Carverlier football

    Well said

  • Wor Lass

    Good for you, Paul – I completely agree with what you say. He should have got the Sports Personality of the Year, for me.

    • Leicester Mag

      Totally agree

  • mentalman

    Why lower yourself to something so childish and something which probably spurs a player on just because he played for sunderland.

    We currently have two ex sunderland players in our squad who have cost us more points than defoe ever did

    • Wor Lass

      Manquillo`s a bit of a duck-egg but Yedlin`s saved us points as well.

      • Billmag

        Yedlin has also made some points with assists.

  • DeadToiler

    Totally agree, booing anyone is childish but Jermain deserved more respect than most.

    • Wor Lass

      Moussa`s the exception to that rule!

      • Ken

        …..and Owen

        • KennySamsung

          Especially Owen

      • KennySamsung

        🤣😆🤣

      • Kev Newcastle England

        How many booed him 10,000? 20,000?W ankers.Law of averages some on here must have?

        • Wor Lass

          I have always said on here that I wouldn`t boo my own player but I was at that game and, although I didn`t join in, I completely understood the crowd`s frustration with him. Time after time he seemed to decide just not to bother when he had the chance to take the opposition on. It looked like he couldn`t give a toss and that`s why he got the treatment. I was amazed that he actually played for us again. I`d say it was the majority of the crowd although I was in level 7!

          • Kev Newcastle England

            Im about Defoe.You on about Sissoko?

          • Wor Lass

            Ah, crossed wires. Yeah, I`m on about Moussa in that Bournemouth match. I was quite shocked at the volume of abuse he got but I didn`t feel sorry for him.

          • Kev Newcastle England

            Aye,ditto.

  • Kenny

    Went more than out of his way to make a child happy deserves respect
    no matter who you support.

  • East Durham Mag

    One of footballs good guys who showed love and kindness and made a tragic child’s life a bit better. Somethings are more important than sport.

  • Grahame Johnson

    I stood up and sang one Bradley Lowry on my own, in block u row l gallowgate that was me paying respect, to both of them

  • magpiefifer

    Couldn’t agree more Paul.
    After watching parts of Children in Need last night it is so humbling to see the brave kids facing up to terminal/severe illness.Well done Jermain Defoe,it doesn’t matter which clubs you’ve played for – you’ve shown what a great human being you are.

  • Rich Lawson

    It’s just a shame more of our highly paid ”heroes” don’t think they have any need to give any of their ”valuable’ time back to the people who turn out in all weathers paying money they often can’t afford for tickets and over priced kit. Words cost nothing. Not the same as Defoe but I like the bloke at Everton,is it Naismith ? who buys tickets for the unemployed to go to matches,and I was impressed by our own much despised Hoss when he went to visit the general and was praised by everyone he met ? Should be the norm’.

    • Martin Rooney

      There are a few of our squad who do lots in the community just doesn’t get the exposure

    • Carverlier football

      I don’t think anyone despises the Hoss – as you say he seems to be a good guy, and you can never fault his effort. He just struggles to hit a cowsarse with a banjo…

  • Vince Humble

    Well said

  • Martin Rooney

    Think the best article ever published on themag. Defoe’s a superstar in my opinion, ex mackem or not it footballs importance needs pegged down a bit it’s not as serious as some people think. Jermaine just gets on with life looking after many others family and stangers alike.
    He should have been cheered on to the pitch.

    • Wor Lass

      Your best post ever published on the mag!

  • Kneebotherm8

    Yeah,fck the football some things in life are just so much more important.
    It’s a shame Jermaine never got to play for us at some stage,we’ve been lacking a goalscorer like him for many a year.

  • graham18

    forget football,Jermaine Defoe did a lot for that little bairn Bradley and continues to do good work for charities-lets open our hearts,not our minds.

  • Ken

    Well said, I agree 100%. I have to admit I used to dislike him as a brash cockney but what he did for Bradley completely changed my mind. Respect to the guy and a well deserved OBE

  • KennySamsung

    At a time when we are surrounded in all areas of football by greed, cheating, lies, stupidity and a lack of community spirit, it is a pleasure to praise a man who trancends the divide and leads by example.
    If only we had an owner who cared, if only he lead the club with dignity and compassion like the guy who owned Leicester he would be remembered for ever. Unfortunately the opposite is in place!
    We deserve better, we need our team back to being a team of the people. Football is not a normal business and never will be so why should anyone believe making massive profits belongs to football. If any businessman wants to increase his own wealth… do not ever forget who put you there!!

  • Ba ba.

    He’s a good guy I never booed him what he did for young lowry was above and beyond … Class act 👍 👏

  • Fisherking

    The mag deleing comments what a shame they don’t reflect fans views like they should do makems

  • Foggy

    If we could get him for a couple of mill. in the window I’d take him in a heartbeat.

  • Mr wobert

    A true gent with loads of empathy.