Former Liverpool and Bradford City defender Stephen Darby thanked both clubs for their support in Sunday’s friendly in aid of his Motor Neurone Disease charity.
However, the main focus at Valley Parade was on Darby, who was forced to retire in September last year when he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
MND is a fatal disease which progressively weakens the brain and nerves, and can impact the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe.
The two clubs announced the friendly at the beginning of June, with proceeds going towards the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation, which the former right-back founded along with fellow sufferer Chris Rimmer after his diagnosis.
Before the game, a tearful Darby addressed a record-breaking, sold-out crowd of 24,343 to express his gratitude at the support received:
Stephen Darby and @chrisrimmerMND. A true inspiration to all.
Today was about much more than football. ?? pic.twitter.com/398kB9iNY2
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) 14 July 2019
“I’d like to say a big thank you to Bradford City and to Liverpool,” Darby said.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to Gary Bowyer and Jurgen Klopp, for allowing the Foundation to be a part of their pre-season.
“I’d like to thank you for all the support you’ve shown to the Foundation, over the last few weeks and months to get there to this game.
“Without their support and without these two football clubs, today simply doesn’t happen. So thank you very much.”
Eoin Doyle grabbed a goal back in the second half from the penalty spot, as a youthful Liverpool side struggled for fluency after the break.
And after the full-time whistle, the Valley Parade crowd joined for a booming rendition of Stephen Darby Baby, as they showed their backing of the 30-year-old in fine fashion:
— West Yorkshire Sport (@WYSdaily) 14 July 2019
Liverpool are next in action in the United States, when they take on Borussia Dortmund in Notre Dame at 1am on Saturday, July 20 (BST).