Longridge Town boss says former defender's illness puts football in context

Lee Ashcroft believes George Melling’s motor neurone disease diagnosis should help everyone keep football in perspective.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 8:00 am

The former Longridge Town defender has outlined his battle against MND at the age of 36.

Melling’s former clubs have rallied around him in the hope of raising £10,000 via a GoFundMe page set up for him, as well as for the MND Association and The Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN).

“I heard an interview he did the other day and I thought he was outstanding in the way he came across,” Ashcroft said.

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Former Longridge Town defender George Melling

“He’s inspirational to other people. We’re all whinging about not playing football while he’s suffering from this.

“Football has taken a back seat to this and we’re making sure that we can do what we can to help him.”

At present, the GoFundMe page has generated pledges of more than £6,800.

A special shirt has also been made and Town are taking orders from anyone interested in buying one.

The MND diagnosis came earlier this year, though Ashcroft was aware something might have been wrong.

The Town boss said: “I went to watch the game between AFC Blackpool and Garstang at the end of December.

“George came along and, I’ve known him a long time, so I thought he was having a laugh when he was walking slowly.

“He sat in front of me and then turned round, said he’d had all the tests done and they thought it was early Parkinson’s disease.

“Then, a few weeks ago, he rang me and was crying because he had just found out (his MND diagnosis).

“It’s terrible news and we’re all gutted for him.”

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