He may have guided Peterborough United to second in the league but Grant McCann showed he understood the true value of football by inviting the family of a teenager who suffered brain damage to the derby match against MK Dons.
Ryley Briston was a happy, healthy sporty 14-year-old lad, attending Bourne Grammar School, playing football for Blackstones under 14 team and also running competitively for Nene Valley Harriers.
In May 2016, after returning home from playing football in the park with his friends, he suffered a massive seizure.
He was rushed to Peterborough City Hospital then transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where they found he had a bleed on his brain caused by an Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM). This has left his brain with considerable damage due to a prolonged period of oxygen starvation.
Ryley underwent surgery to stem the bleeding on his brain and was put into an induced coma. He was in intensive care at Addenbrooke’s for five weeks.
In total, Ryley and his mum spent 12 weeks at Addenbrooke’s and a further seven months away from home having intensive rehabilitation.
After hearing of the story Grant, who like Ryley lives in Baston, arranged for the family to watch the game with the Dons, and ahead of kick-off he was taken into the home dressing room by Callum Chettle to meet the squad with his favourite player Jack Baldwin presenting him with a signed Posh shirt.
After meeting mascot Peter Burrow the family watched the warm-up from pitchside before watching goals from Ryan Tafazolli and Marcus Maddison secure a 2-0 win.
Grant said: “The family have gone through a lot of late and Ryley has had to cope with so much so it was a tiny gesture to invite them as our guests on Tuesday night.
“Hopefully Ryley and his family had a good time with us and thankfully we could put on a performance and get a result.
“We have invited them down to the training ground at a later date to spend some time with us and get the chance to get to know the players a bit more.”