A string of former Swansea City stars will take part in a charity game on Sunday to show their support for Lenny Johnrose.
Johnrose, one of the heroes of the Swans’ crucial win over Hull City back in 2003, was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in March last year.
Now a game has been arranged to raise awareness about MND, for which there is currently no cure, and to raise money for the Len Johnrose Foundation.
A Swans legends side will take on a legends team from Burnley, another of Johnrose’s former clubs, at Bamber Bridge FC on Sunday (1pm).
Lee Trundle, Leon Britton, Andy Robinson, Alan Tate, Adrian Forbes, Tom Butler, Michael Howard, Jonathan Coates, Andrew Mumford, John Williams, Chris Todd, Steve Jones, Lee Bracey and Kristian O’Leary are among the players who are set to feature for the Swans.
O’Leary will be joint-manager of the Swans alongside Brian Flynn, the man who brought Johnrose to Vetch Field back in January 2003.
“There are a lot of us going up – we all wanted to be involved as soon as there was talk of arranging a game,” Britton said.
“It was a no-brainer when we heard about it. We all made sure we could get up there because Lenny was really popular with the players when he was here.
“Everyone thinks very highly of him and we were all devastated when we heard the news of his illness.
“I listened to his interview about it on the radio and it really hit me to hear him talking about the illness and his family.
“I was so shocked. He was so fit and strong as a player so to hear it was so sad.”
Former left-back Howard echoed Britton’s sentiments.
He said: “Lenny is a very proud man. He has always worn his heart on his sleeve and told it how it is – I think that’s why the lads liked him so much when he was at Swansea.
“What’s happened to him is awful and it’s hard to imagine what he is going through.
“It must be heartbreaking for his family, but I think it will be nice for them to see on Sunday how well liked he is.
“Hopefully there will be a good crowd and a lot of money will be raised.”
Preston-born Johnrose, who is 48, began his career at Blackburn Rovers.
He also played for Preston, Hartlepool and Bury (twice) and had three spells at Burnley either side of his stint with the Swans.
Johnrose made 44 appearances during 14 months in South Wales, scoring three goals.
The most significant of those strikes came in the 4-2 win over Hull in May 2003 which saw the Swans preserve Football League status on the final day of the season.
“Lenny was great for us,” Britton recalled.
“He was not here that long but the impact he had was huge.
“He can sometimes go under the radar a little bit when we talk about Hull because of James Thomas’s hat-trick and everything else what was going on that day.
“But Lenny scored the third goal, which was really important for us. It was a huge moment in the game.
“For me personally he was great. I was a bit more skilful in those days and Lenny would always look after me – he was like my security guard!
“I could be the Yorkshire terrier yapping away and I knew Lenny the rottweiler would be behind me. I was lucky to play alongside him.
“He was also a great guy off the pitch. He was a big character in the dressing room and we had some good times together.”
Howard, another who played in the Hull game, added: “The lads loved Lenny.
“The running joke was that he wasn’t at the Vetch very often. He was coming towards the end of his career when he signed and was studying to be a teacher in the North West, so he would only come down to train with us at the end of the week.
“But when he was there, he was a wholehearted player who gave everything for the team, and he also had good ability.
“It will be good to see him this weekend. We just hope it will be a good day for him and his family.”
The likes of Steve Davis, Graham Alexander, Mitchell Thomas, Glen Little and Robbie Blake are set to feature for Burnley on Sunday.
Tickets for the game are priced £10 for adults and £5 concessions, with a programme included.
A crowdfunding page has been set up to assist Johnrose and his family as he battles MND.
You can make a donation HERE.