An Arsenal fan has revealed the lengths the north London club went to in ensuring his autistic son enjoyed his first ever football match.
Arsenal recorded a 2-0 win over Leeds in Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup fixture as goals from Calum Chambers and Eddie Nketiah fired them into the quarter-finals.
For one young Arsenal fan it was set to be a night to remember with his first ever football match being a trip to the Emirates Stadium in north London.
However, with the child being autistic, his experience looked set to end prematurely due to the noisy atmosphere and busy crowds before a kind steward and fellow members of Arsenal staff stepped in to save the day.
In a series of tweets, Arsenal fan Dave, the child’s father, posted: ‘Last night I took my son to Arsenal for his first match. He was buzzing all day for it. I wasn’t sure if it he’d ever go as he has autism.
‘Once we were in the ground he struggled with about 50,000 people shouting and was having a hard time. Halfway through the first half I could see he wasn’t going to get used to it so we had to leave.
‘When we left the stadium, a steward (blonde lady, wish I got her name), asked why we were leaving and I told her. She asked me to hold on and contacted someone else. Next thing I know, we’re being walked towards club level.
‘They’ve got a sensory room there where we could watch the rest of the match. The bloke running the room, Luke Howard, was fantastic with everyone in there and between him and the stewards that helped, turned the night into a great memory. Thank you Arsenal.’
Arsenal have since replied to Dave’s tweet with a picture of Luke, the man who helped ensure his son was comfortable in the sensory room.
The club tweeted: ‘We are so glad we were able to help you and your son last night, Dave. It’s our pleasure.
‘At Arsenal, we are incredibly proud of our sensory room and Luke absolutely loved meeting you guys!’
Arsenal unveiled their sensory room in 2017 with the aim being to ‘incorporate a match viewing room which has measures in place to create a safe, calm and comfortable environment with reduced sensory stimuli to experience matches.’
The room is a unique space which allows adults and children with difficulties such as autism to watch live matches from a room with a window on to the pitch and it contains a range of sensory activities and toys that provide a quiet area for fans and their families.
The sensory room is available for every fixture across all competitions at the Emirates and there is room to accommodate 12 spaces in total for every match.
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