What is football without fans?
Fans are the lifeblood of the game and the story of a late Valencia season ticket holder proves just how much it means to some.
Vicente Navarro Aparicio was an avid Valencia supporter. He was Valencia CF member No.18 and watched every home game at the club’s Mestalla stadium.
Vicente also travelled to away games, witnessing the 1967 Copa del Generalísimo – now known as the Copa del Rey – final win over Athletic Bilbao.
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But Vicente lost his sight at the age of 54 due to a detached retina.
Sadly, Vicente was unable to watch his favourite team. But his support for Valencia never waned.
Statue honours Vicente at Mestalla
He kept on coming to Mestalla with his son. Vicente wanted to feel the atmosphere and he would follow along by having the events on the field described to him.
Vicente was present for the 2004 double-winning season, describing it as the happiest year of his life.
He passed away two years ago but Valencia have honoured him by putting a statue of him in his seat.
His bronze figure sits in seat 164 of row 15 in the Tribuna Central section.
The story has been told in a wonderful video, which features Vicente’s son discussing his father’s love of football.
Now, Vicente will forever be at Valencia games.
Modern technology has paved the way for more blind fans to still enjoy attending football matches.
Liverpool supporter Ian Wood, who has been blind since the age of five, watches the Reds play using a £600 vision helmet.
The helmet works by enhancing the images from a high-definition camera and playing them on a screen held over Ian’s eyes.
“This has changed my life. I’ve been a fan since I was a boy and remember going to a match in the 1990s and they didn’t even have audio-commentary, so this is amazing,” he told the Mirror.
“After years of listening from the sidelines, I can actually shout to the ref ‘that was never a penalty’ if I don’t like what I see.
“I can’t read the names on players’ shirts, but I can tell who has the ball. I get so much more from the game than I did before.”
Football. How can you not love it?