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Joe Jones

Tom Gordon Savage: The Nottingham man who brought the black and white stripes to Juventus (Part 2)

The second and final part of Andy Black's account sees him make contact with Tom Gordon Savage's descendants, informs them of his plans to get his name changed at the Juventus Stadium museum, and culminates with a trip to Turin for a Bianconeri game and a ceremony to honour the man himself on the anniversary of his passing.

That evening I found Anna's daughter, plus Alasdair and his three children. I sent a message to all of them one by one and it was one of Alasdair's daughters that replied confirming that they were indeed the descendants of Tom Savage. She sent me a message requesting my email so that Alasdair could email me.

Alasdair emailed me the following evening and copied in his sister thanking me for making contact. He informed me that his mother Athalie was alive and living near Anna and her daughter.

I spoke to Anna first on the phone and then Alasdair and explained that I wanted to change the name that was next to the photo in the museum from John to Tom. Alasdair said that their mother had requested to them a few years ago that he and his sister get in contact with Juventus and change the name.

I explained that I was taking a Notts County football shirt printed SAVAGE 1903 on the back with a request that they amend his name next to the photo. I requested that if the family sent me a letter addressed to the manager of the museum it would increase the chances of the name correction taking place.

Alasdair sent a letter to me which arrived on 31st March. So with the research done on Tom's life as a lace maker and designer, football player for Juventus and amateur cricket player for Notts Waverley, I sent an email to the manager of the Juventus museum requesting the name to be changed.

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I got a reply that morning asking for my phone number and by lunchtime it was agreed that the name would be changed in time for my visit on the 23rd April. Marco, the manager, asked who was coming with me and if there would there be any family members attending. I replied that at that stage there was only a contingent of Notts County Supporters who would be seated in Curva Nord (North Stand) for the game against Genoa.

Marco said it would be good if a family member could attend the unveiling of the new photo in the museum; I said it was a bit short notice but I would ask.

I phoned Alasdair in Cape Town but he said he was committed to a meeting but to call Anna as it would be easier for her from the UK. I phoned Anna who said she was available to attend so I emailed Marco back and agreed to make some plans on Monday morning.

The weekend passed and Alasdair had rearranged his meeting so now was able to attend so I gave Marco the good news. Marco's reply was to offer two tickets to sit with Andrea Agnelli in the most prestigious part of the stadium for the game on the 23rd. I informed Alasdair and Anna what was being offered and they insisted that I have one of the tickets and Alasdair the other.

On the 20th April my wife and I drove down to Oxfordshire to meet Athalie, Anna, Alasdair and Anna's daughter at Athalie's home. I felt it important to visit Athalie to show her the football shirt and letter that will be presented to Juventus and to listen to her talk about her grandfather Tom and father Richard.

We spent just over four hours talking to her before, during and after dinner. I explained to her that all the Juventus friends that I had made was down to her grandfather's inspiration in requesting Notts County shirts in 1903.

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On the 22nd April the group of Notts fans flew out to Turin where in the evening we met up with Alasdair and Anna for a pizza. My friend Luigi, a member of the Italian Magpies, was also present and was overwhelmed with emotion when I informed him he was the first Juventus fan to meet the family of Tom Savage.

The next day we all headed to the Juventus museum to meet Marco in reception at 3pm to take part in a stadium tour, followed by the unveiling of the picture which was filmed by Juventus TV and uploaded onto Juventus.com, Twitter and Facebook. Marco informed the family that the shirt with the letter will be put on display in a glass cabinet for all to see.

Alasdair and I proceeded to club Gianni e Umberto to take our seats for a pre match meal with Marco and then to our seats in the stadium for the game.

At half time we were introduced to the mother of the president of Juventus FC, Allegra Agnelli. She was genuinely pleased to see us and accepted one of the postcards we were handing out before the game explaining the significance of the date and name change.

Marco then introduced us to the director of the museum who also accepted a postcard and it was reassuring when he made sure that the museum had my details to keep up to date with any more information found on Tom. We returned to the stadium for the second half where the game finished Juventus 4-0 Genoa.

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In the same way that Roger and Helen Stirland became friends while working on the Herbert Kilpin plaque, Alasdair and Anna have become friends and I look forward to learning of Athalie's reaction to achieving what we all wanted.

The importance is that a Nottingham man who created a link between the world's oldest football league club, Notts County and the most successful club in Italy, Juventus now has the correct recognition and as a consequence football friendships and a unique piece of football history for Nottingham is recorded forever. Β 

As we say, "Two hearts, one soul". Forza Juve and Forza Notts County!

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To go back to the first part of the story, click here.

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Fantastic read and article πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ» Nice to get a depth and a flavour of where it all can from and the man behind it. Looking forward to more of these in the future.

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