Football fan felt ‘really special’ after messages of support from favourite team

Emily Norris, 10, was surprised when she received messages of support from members of her favourite football team following an operation.
Emily Norris, 10, was surprised when she received messages of support from members of her favourite football team following an operation.

A young football fan said she felt “really special” after receiving messages of support from members of her favourite team following an operation.

Emily Norris, 10, who lives in Norwich, was born with multi cystic dysplastic kidney (MCDK), which resulted in her right kidney being removed at the age of three and she also had congenital cystic andenmotoid malformation (CCAM), which led to 75% of her right lung being removed at nine months old.

On November 4, she underwent an operation to help stop the discomfort caused by a feeding tube she had until she was five and a half, which resulted in a scar, and hoped that her favourite football team – Norwich City Women FC – would offer her messages of support and was “surprised” with the response.

Girl having photo signed by a woman, who is wearing a headband
Emily Norris having a photo signed by Norwich City Women FC player Katie Knights (Nicol Nicholls/PA)

“She had messages from 11 of the women’s team players, wishing her a speedy recovery and saying that they can’t wait to see her at a match when she gets better”, her mother Nicol Nicholls, 34, a full-time carer for Emily’s brother (Dominic Norris, 11) and a volunteer football coach at motive8 sports, told the PA news agency.

“She was so happy as the women’s team are such an inspiration to Emily and other football loving girls – they always make time at the end of matches to take photos and sign shirts or posters.

“Emily said she felt really special.”

Group of three females looking at the camera
(From left to right) Emily Norris, 10, her sister Dottie Nicholls, three, and their mother Nicol Nicholls at a Norwich City game (Nicol Nicholls/PA)

The messages of support extended further than the team, with two players from the men’s team and two ex-men’s players sharing some words with the football fan, as well as members of the public, with one even offering to let her use his season ticket.

“Emily couldn’t believe so many people were thinking about her and was shocked when I showed her just how many fellow canary fans were sending her love”, Mrs Nicholls said.

“One fellow fan offered to let her use his season ticket for a future game which was unbelievably generous. Football is an amazing community to be part of.”

The team means so much to Emily that she wore a metallic pastel Norwich City Women FC top for the surgery, which she purchased with her own birthday money on the day it was released – August 12, 2022.

Mrs Nicholls added that it has become “even more precious now” because Emily got to wear it in the operating room.

Emily Norris playing football (Nicol Nicholls/PA)

The 10-year-old started playing football earlier this year as part of motive8 sports Weetabix wildcats at the FDC in Norwich, and Mrs Nicholls said that the Women’s Euro served as a catalyst for her decision to become involved with the sport.

“After watching the Women’s Euro, she wanted to go along to her local women’s team which is where she fell in love with Norwich City Women’s Football Club,” Mrs Nicholls said.

“She has been to every home game this season, except one.”

Next Saturday, an “excited” Emily will be attending the club’s match at Carrow Road and is set to don her lucky shirt yet again to cheer on her heroes.

She will also be at The Nest next Sunday to cheer on the women’s team, which means double football joy for the young fan.