Vicky Butler, 24, remembers the first game her father brought her to at Anfield.
“It was against Everton. I was nine. I don’t think I’d ever felt as cold in my life. But I’ll always remember right away feeling like I always belonged there. The warm welcome from other fans. The amazing atmosphere. I was hooked right away.”
Vicky’s family couldn’t afford a season ticket and matches were few and far between. But they always scrimped and saved for tickets and never missed a game on TV.
It wasn’t until she was fifteen that the family started smuggling their dog ‘Fagan’ into games.
“He’d fit in under my dad’s jacket. The stewards knew my dad as he came to the stadium in his wheelchair and I think that was why they just smiled when they saw Fagan’s little face peeping out. After a few times they were letting him and talking to him. He was a small dog and no trouble to anyone. He became one if the characters of the area we sat in. Best of all people loved it when he was there because we always won when he came!”
But things took an unfortunate twist when one evening no one could find Fagan.
“We put up posters and called local radio stations. We told people about the little scar on his neck from when he was attacked by a larger dog. But days went by and it became less likely anyone was going to come forward. I grew dreadfully sad but it hit my dad even harder. It was too much for all of us. He retreated into himself and we agreed we’d have to do something special for him.”
That was when things grew strange. Some would say amazing. Vicky’s brother happened to spot an advertisement for Champions league tickets for an away match for Liverpool. The photo featured celebrating reds fans and one small dog.
“We couldn’t believe it. But it was him. 100%. The dog in the photo even had the same scar as Fagan. So we called the ad company and they told us they got the dog from an agency that also handled stars like Bruce Forsyth and Victoria Beckham. And that this little dog had been getting a great deal of work!”
Vicky and her family had adopted Fagan but couldn’t find the documentation to prove it. So the agency refused to either pay them for their dog’s work or return him to them, no matter how many photos they produced. In the end they said the dog had been sold to a stage act in Turkey. He had attacked former Manchester United midfielder Nicky Butt at a charity garden show and it looked serious for Fagan. Darren Fletcher had offered to adopt him but the dog refused to be adopted by a United player and had run away.
“They told us he had lost a leg. So he couldn’t run far. They found him and shipped him off to Turkey. We were crestfallen. “
This is where matters get seriously freaky. Vicky bought her dad a ticket to what was maybe the biggest match in her time as a fan. The champions league final in Istanbul.
“It was amid the celebrations on the street afterward that I was wheeling my dad about and we passed an open tent where animals were just settling down after performing for the day. And there he was. I mean it was ridiculous. But he had the same scar and everything. ‘
Vicky attempted to buy Fagan back but the woman caring for the animals said they weren’t hers to sell. It was then she looked around for her father.
“He was gone. Just like that into the crowd and Fagan with him. We’d taken the ferry over for dad’s chair so it was easier to get him back in our car on the boat.”
And just like that. Fagan became a regular at Anfield again.
“He was back to pissing on copies of the Sun and barking when we scored. He lived another few years and dies the summer before last.”
Now Vicky wants the club to recognise what a great little fan Fagan was, and would love people to know his amazing story.
“Please share this with all the other fans you know to get his story out there. He was a great little fan and we miss him like mad.”
We think little Fagan is an Anfield legend and we hope you agree!