Published: 24 JAN 2005
I had almost finished my report on the Villa game this morning when the phone rang. It was the type of call no-one wants, and to say it shocked me would be a massive understatement.
The call was from Sheryl - Nigel Krohn's wife. She told me that Nigel had died. I had heard from him not that long ago just after his 40th birthday late October, but it was during the following month that he was diagnosed with cancer that spread so rapidly he didn't stand a chance.
As this puts everything into perspective once more, and writing a report so futile, I thought I would post a dedication to my friend instead.
Some of you will remember that Nigel travelled regularly with us to games up until a couple of years ago when, due to lack of funds, he had to make the journey very infrequently.
Manchester United had always been the basis of our friendship - it's what drew us together in the first place, just as it draws countless other people together. We must never forget that being a true Manchester United supporter is like being involved in one big family.
Nigel's greatest moment as a supporter (as with most of us who were fortunate enough to have been there) was at the Nou Camp in 1999. He and I travelled up from the Midlands together and met up with my daughter Eliza, Steve and his Dad John at Manchester Airport. We flew out late that night and arrived in the centre of the City around 3am.
Neither Nigel nor Eliza had tickets for the game but we had persuaded them to come with us and take a chance anyway. As soon as it got light the search began, and after several hours our prayers were answered and they both ended up with tickets. Even if they were for the Bayern end! However, once inside the ground they asked to be moved to neutral seats, and were.
Steve and John were both on the top level but I would be on the same level as them so I suggested we should try to find each other - as if among 90,000 people you are going to find anybody when you haven't a clue where they are in the first place! But find each other we did.
I don't have to re-iterate what happened that night although I can relive it whenever the mood takes me, and will never grow tired of it's memory. When you experience monumental events such as that they change your lives forever, and the people who are with you at those times take on a new significance. Thus Nigel became part of our family.
Remembering moments like that special night usually brings a tear to my eyes. Given the sad news received today the memory will now take on a completely new significance.
Nigel was unique in so many ways - his humour was sharp and quick and he kept us amused whenever he travelled with us. He was just a really good bloke who will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him, but most especially by Sheryl and his two young boys Joshua and Frazer. Those boys have lost more than a Father - they've lost their best mate too.
We'll miss you mate.
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