Winning two free tickets to Roy Keane’s testimonial match in Manchester was every Celtic’s supporter’s dream back in 2006. With free accommodation thrown in it sounded like the perfect experience. Unfortunately for Mr MM, it turned out to be anything but.
The day started promisingly enough. The official Celtic supporters’ bus took Mr MM, his father and a few friends and colleagues down to Manchester. They arrived in plenty of time before the match and, after a quick photo opportunity at Old Trafford, the group went into Manchester City Centre for lunch and on to a busy pub.
It was when Mr MM made his way upstairs to the toilets in the pub that disaster struck. By then his friends had moved on to another pub, his father thought that he had left and he and the group disappeared. Mr MM entered the toilets and slipped on a pool of liquid. His legs went from underneath him and he experienced sharp and immediate pain. He could not get up.
Paramedics arrived at the pub at around 6pm on 9th May 2006. Mr. MM was then taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary. He was left virtually unattended in great pain for over four hours. The hospital seemed to think that he was a drunken football supporter. He certainly felt he was at the very bottom of their priority list. It was not until around midnight that the knee was x-rayed and it was discovered that Mr MM actually had a very serious knee fracture.
Unable to find him at the match, his father and close friend became alarmed and made urgent inquiries. They traced him to Manchester Royal Infirmary. He was told he would need a 3 ½ hours operation on his knee. By the time his father and friend left the hospital, the free accommodation had been sold to other Celtic supporters and they had to sleep in the Hotel Foyer. Their rooms had been sold without permission. Mr MM slept in the hospital, deciding he preferred to have the operation and convalesce back in Scotland rather than stay in Manchester any longer.
A serious knee injury was a real blow to this shop-fitter/shelf stacker. He tried to work but could not put any weight on his injured knee. Further operations were proposed. He will probably need a total knee replacement in the future.
It was then that Mr. MM’s legal battle started. He instructed an English Solicitor who after a year or two decided that his case did not have reasonable prospects of succeeding. The pub was saying that he was drunk and had tripped on the stairs. They even produced witnesses to back up their story. He went to another Solicitor but that Solicitor went bankrupt. A third Solicitor was instructed. He worked on the case for a long time and then he also decided that it did not have reasonable prospects. He too threw it out.
It was August 2010 when Mr MM tried his fourth Solicitor, Brian Barr in Manchester. Mr Barr felt that it was a good case, took it on and Mr MM won a settlement of £89,000. What had started out in May 2006 as a day never to forget turned out to be a day never to forget, but in a very different sense.