Never meet your heroes? That’s what they say isn’t it?
Well not to Logan Pope, who enjoyed ‘the best day of his life’ at Molineux recently.
Thirteen-year-old Logan thought he was only popping to Molineux to do an interview about his participation in Wolves Foundation’s Premier League Kicks programme.
Then he was told by Mum Pippa that he was going to be treated to a new shirt, complete with a name and number of his choice on the back.
Having completed his interview with Wolves Foundation inclusion & cohesion manager Luke Shearing, Logan was taken up for what he thought was going to be a quickfire guide to shirt printing above the Megastore.
And it was then that he received the shock of his life, because standing there, waiting, was none other than Wolves captain and England international Conor Coady.
“No way,” exclaimed Logan, as he was greeted by his hero.
“I’ve always wanted to meet you!”
An emotional moment, which was then followed by a walk pitchside – taking a diversion to meet several other members of the squad enroute – as well as a look inside Wolves’ home dressing room and chat in the dugout. Good times!
The background to ‘When Logan met Conor’ started just before the pandemic when Logan held up a sign at a match requesting the captain’s shirt which, having received, he passed on to Pippa as a 40th birthday present.
Watch this and make your day better 💛@wwfcfoundation ambassador Conor Coady surprising Logan, a young victim of bullying, with a day he'll never forget at Molineux.#AntiBullyingWeek pic.twitter.com/Vib2Xd9fyC— Wolves (@Wolves) November 18, 2021
Logan, who has suffered for many years with severe bouts of anxiety, then took part in – and won - the S-X Factor competition during lockdown where he provided lyrics to a backing track produced by Foundation participant Darren Matthews.
The Instagram post announcing Logan’s win and naming Conor as his inspiration came to the skipper’s attention, and he informed Foundation staff he wanted to meet up at some point when restrictions were lifted.
“I was happy enough to be told I was doing the interview, but when I walked into the room and saw Conor Coady it was like ‘wow’,” says Logan.
“The interview was incredible, and then I got to meet my hero – even better!
“When I first saw him standing there it was just surreal, but he was really nice and spent around an hour showing me around - we sat in the dugout and he told me he is my mate now.
“I told my friends what had happened but they didn’t believe me but when Conor posted the pictures on his Instagram they believed me then!”
Logan’s story is being shared during National Anti-Bullying Week, the theme of which is ‘One Kind Word’, as, along with his anxiety, he has also found himself the subject of bullying in and out of school.
“Logan has had so many problems with his anxiety and the bullying which has been horrendous,” says Pippa.
“Every day he walks through the door there seems to be another story and some of the other pupils have said some horrible things to him.
“He has had to miss school because of injuries and the abuse - when it happens to your own child it is heart-breaking.
“I think we all need to teach all of our children to be kind and respectful and understand the power of their words and actions.
“But also for us, forgiveness is the key.
“Forgiveness sets you free and the people that are unpleasant to you free, so that’s what I hope we teach Logan.
“He’s important, he’s valued, he’s special, and that it’s always important to forgive and be thoughtful.
“That’s why it was so nice for him to meet Conor who is such an amazing and inspirational role model and someone we are lucky to have at Wolves.
“The Foundation has been so massive for Logan, it has made him feel valued and important and the opportunity to see his heroes close up gives him such a boost.”
Logan’s interest in music has also seen him complete a ‘pianathon’ in aid of the Little Rascals charity which has been so important for his older sister Esti, who is autistic.
And his link-up with Kicks and the Foundation has also seen him start as a ball boy this season, an opportunity which he is extremely grateful for.
When it comes to the bullying, he tries to shut it out as much as possible, but the plenty of kind words received from Conor will certainly make a positive difference.
“Being bullied is not a nice experience but I always try to think to myself that I don’t know what is going on in their background and I don’t know how they are feeling to say something bad to another person,” he says.
“It makes me feel sad and a bit angry but I never say anything back – I just try and get on with the day and focus on my schoolwork because that is what we are all there for.
“Conor spoke to me and told me I should focus on myself and the people that are nice to me and the ones that want to bring me down - push them to the side.
“He helped me loads, and knowing the fact that my hero is on my side gives me that extra boost and tells me I am not alone, Conor is backing me up.
“I would never have believed something like this would happen to me – it’s amazing.
“The best day of my life.”