James Coppinger visited young football fan Harriet in hospitality when Rovers hosted Lincoln City at the Keepmoat Stadium last month.
Harriet – or H as she is known to those close to her – comes from a family of Doncaster Rovers and Lincoln City fans who get together every time the two teams meet.
Rovers supporter Derek Daniels explained: “Our family is divided along the lines of Rovers and Imps so to make it a little more special this year, the piggy bank was raided and a hospitality box was secured towards the away end - which made our visitors feel at home.
“Since I retired, I’ve supported young adults with autism by building their confidence in the community - one such lady is H. H is a huge Imps fan and regularly attends games supported by her dad Andrew. H suffers with anxiety but going to matches has helped bring this lovely young lady out of her shell.”
Over the years, Derek and H have bonded over their love of football and have talked constantly about the teams they both support. Naturally, when talking about Rovers, James Coppinger has been mentioned and H developed a growing admiration for the former No.26 despite being from a rival team.
Derek continued: “With H's parents’ permission, I contacted [chief executive] Gavin Baldwin and asked, rather cheekily, if our living legend Jamses Coppinger could to pop along and surprise her.
“True to both gents word, they visited the box we were in and when the door opened and H saw Copps, the look of total excitement, exhilaration and bewilderment was evident for all to see.
“James waited for H to feel comfortable and then spent so much time with her and her parents that time appeared to stand still. Nothing was too much trouble for Rovers legend and words alone cannot thank James and Gavin enough for making this young lady’s day.”