Football: Reds fans get double joy thanks to O'Connor

Ashley (left) and Vincent Ong flank Courts CEO Terry O' Connor. The father and son display the Manchester United-Liverpool Europa League match scarf and the signed jersey they received from their favourite player Philippe Coutinho.
Ashley (left) and Vincent Ong flank Courts CEO Terry O' Connor. The father and son display the Manchester United-Liverpool Europa League match scarf and the signed jersey they received from their favourite player Philippe Coutinho. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

It was to be the trip of a lifetime for Liverpool fans Vincent Ong and his son Ashley - a chance to watch their team play Chelsea in the English Premier League at Anfield on March 13.

But their dream vacation quickly turned into their worst nightmare when the game was rescheduled as a result of the Blues' FA Cup commitments.

In an attempt to salvage their trip, they reached out to Terry O'Connor, CEO of furniture and electronics retailer Courts, who helped the father and son in a grand way.

They got to watch two away games - the 3-2 Premier League defeat at Southampton and the 1-1 draw in the Europa League with Manchester United which saw the Reds progress to the quarter-finals.

To ice the cake, they also received a signed jersey from their favourite player Phillipe Coutinho.

"I even got to sit next to his (Coutinho's) wife at Old Trafford!" said Ashley, 19. "It was very meaningful to watch a game with so many cheering Liverpool fans."

Ong contacted O'Connor, a fellow Liverpool fan, after he faced difficulty securing tickets at Southampton and Old Trafford.

They had previously met when Ong was an assistant director at the Singapore Sports School.

"I knew he was a Liverpool fan, so I decided to try my luck," Ong said. "I wrote to him, and I was very excited when he responded."

O'Connor said that the father-son dynamic was key for him. "I have been to football tournaments with my sons, and I can imagine how it must feel to have your sights set on a match and then have it cancelled."

Courts has long been involved in the football scene in Singapore. They were the title sponsor of S-League side Young Lions for five seasons until last year and have brought football stars such as Pele and Eric Cantona to the island.

Ashley's brothers Austin, 21, and Anders, 16, are also Liverpool fans. "Funnily enough, Austin is now planning to go to England to watch the rescheduled Liverpool versus Chelsea game (on May 12)," said Ong.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 03, 2016, with the headline 'Reds fans get double joy thanks to O'Connor'. Print Edition | Subscribe