S'pore boy, 10, flies 11,000km to UK to watch Aston Villa, but match called off 2 hours before kick-off

Kaito Jones has been a diehard Aston Villa fan all his life.

Ashley Tan | December 23, 2021, 02:27 PM

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A young diehard Aston Villa fan in Singapore was eagerly anticipating his trip to the United Kingdom to watch his favourite football team in action.

However, the 10-year-old boy was met with disappointment when the match was cancelled two hours before it was scheduled to start, just as he was admiring the scenery at Villa Park stadium in Birmingham, where the match was to be held.

Football match was highlight of the trip

Kaito Jones, who is British but was born in Singapore and is a permanent resident here, had flown to England with his mother on Dec. 16.

His father, Danny Jones, has stayed in Singapore for 13 years.

He told Mothership that the family has not returned home to the UK for the past two-and-a-half years due to the pandemic.

Although the trip was to let Kaito visit his grandparents in their hometown, their travel was centered around catching the Aston Villa-Burnley match at the team's home ground on Saturday, Dec. 18, and it was a "big, big highlight" for him.

Kaito and his aunt then headed to the Villa Park stadium early on the day of the game, as the boy wanted to "soak up the atmosphere".

Heard of game's cancellation from passer-by

They were taking a look around the stadium and checking out the vendors selling merchandise when a passer-by exclaimed that the game had been cancelled.

Danny happened to be on a video call with his son at the time, as he had wanted to observe the boy's excitement before the game started, and saw how "absolutely heartbroken" and "devastated" Kaito looked at the new development.

The news was reported soon after by BBC, which stated that the match was postponed due to an "increased amount" of positive Covid-19 test results in the Villa team.

Danny shared that he felt devastated for his son as well. Describing what his son probably felt at the time:

"He didn't believe me at first, I think he thought I was joking... The look on his face, which is upset that 'Oh, so I'm not gonna see my team', and the devastation that he's gone all that way, and he's there on the ground, and it's less than two hours to kick off... And it just didn't happen and I think it's just that sorrow of being so close but then [the game] not happening."

Kaito had to be content with visiting the club shop to buy some merchandise and taking photos around the stadium.

He and his aunt tried to "make a day of it", but Danny saw how upset Kaito truly was despite the boy saying "it's okay, don't worry about it", and putting on a brave front.

Photo courtesy of Danny Jones

Photo courtesy of Danny Jones

Outpouring of support

Kaito has been an Aston Villa fan all his life, Danny shared.

Following in his father's and aunt's footsteps, both of whom are huge fans of the club as well, Kaito has always shared their interests and watched the games with them.

"One of his first ever pyjamas was an Aston Villa football kit," Danny revealed. His son's wardrobe has consisted of football shirts ever since.

Photo courtesy of Danny Jones

Photo courtesy of Danny Jones

Since the unfortunate cancellation of the game, there has been an outpouring of support from the Aston Villa club and its fans for Kaito.

Kaito's story has been featured by UK media such as The Mirror and Birmingham Mail, and he also got a shout-out on Twitter by the Aston Villa Singapore Lions Club.

Aston Villa's John McGinn, and Kaito's favourite player, even responded on Twitter.

And in a positive turn of events, Danny shared on Dec. 23 that Luke 1977, a UK garment brand that is one of Aston Villa's sponsors, has donated two tickets to Kaito and his aunt for the upcoming Aston Villa-Chelsea game on Dec. 26.

These tickets are given out as part of its annual draw to the club's "deserving fans".

Kaito has been "absolutely overwhelmed" and "elated" with the support he has received.

Danny said: "He cannot believe like a football player would message him on Twitter."

Kaito is now looking forward to the game on Sunday.

"So good news, happy story in the end," Danny said, regarding how the events have played out.

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Top photo courtesy of Danny Jones