A lifelong Whites fan had a surprise hospital visit from former Wanderers star and Senegal international El Hadji Diouf.
After Joe Fish suffered a stroke in November, his family thought he might not pull through.
But now the 67-year-old radio presenter of Crown Lane, Horwich, is showing promising signs of recovery, which may have been helped by a visit from his favourite former Wanderer.
Mr Fish’s daughter Rachael bumped into Diouf in a Bolton bar and, knowing he was her father’s favourite player, asked if he would visit him at the Royal Bolton Hospital.
Ms Fish said: “My dad was born in Great Lever and has been a big supporter of Bolton for years, he even moved to Horwich to be nearer to the stadium. When Diouf was playing for them he loved him.
“When I saw him I explained what had happened to dad and that he was his favourite player and asked if he would visit him in hospital — he said he would, but I didn’t expect anything.”
But on Saturday January 25, after watching the Whites lose to Cardiff City in an FA cup tie at the Reebok — the Senegalese star, who currently plays for Leeds United, surprised everyone by popping in to see Joe at the Royal Bolton.
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He then went one better and visited him again the following Thursday, this time taking with him the last Wanderers shirt he ever wore, which he signed and gave to his number one fan.
Ms Fish, aged 32, from Eagley said: “It was honestly one of the most moving things that has happened.
“This has been one of the most terrifying experiences I have been through, but Diouf has shown so much sincerity it has really helped us and kept dad’s mind occupied — he sat with dad for an hour and a half and held his hand, it was really emotional.”
Mr Fish, a former fireman, is the presenter of a country music show on Radio Lancashire.
He suffered the stroke on November 29 and initially could barely move — but his family, including Rachael, sons John and David, and partner, Carol, have been buoyed by the progress he has made since then.
Sheila Mooney, acting ward manager on ward C4 where Joe is staying, said: “It was a lovely thing to do for someone and it will have been a good morale booster.”