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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. 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. 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. 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. As we say, "Two hearts, one soul". Forza Juve and Forza Notts County! To go back to the first part of the story, click here. Share your thoughts about this feature on Pride of Nottingham by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow Notts County and Juventus fans.
Over the next few days, Pride of Nottingham will be publishing Andy Black's account of his journey to discover more about the identity of Tom Gordon Savage, the Nottingham-born man who famously requested for a number of Notts County shirts to be sent to a fledging Italian football club by the name of Juventus over a century ago. Here is part one, where Andy first notices the discrepancy between the established records identifying the man as John Savage and a handwritten note penned by one Tom Savage, and how research into another Nottingham football pioneer, AC Milan founder Herbert Kilpin, led to the first lead about the man responsible for Juve's black-and-white stripes, and soon developed into establishing his family tree and tracing his descendants. When it comes to football clubs, few are bigger or more famous worldwide than Italian outfit Juventus. The vertical black and white stripes on their shirts are emblematic of the club itself, and those with a bit more in-depth knowledge of the history of football know that a man from Nottingham, an expatriate living in the Northern Italian city of Turin, was responsible for this design being imported, given to and duly adopted by the Bianconeri (white-and-blacks). According to the history books, "John Savage" had requested that the shirts be sent over from Nottingham to Turin in 1903; he was approached by the Italian club, whose name is Latin for "youth", to source properly-made football shirts from Britain after the pink shirts they wore faded in colour as the season went on. He got in touch with some people from his home city, and a shipment of Notts County shirts was duly sent across Europe to Juve. In the Juventus museum, there is a photo of a postcard which also shows the handwritten message on the reverse sent to a friend. The message reads: Dear Varetti, Please accept many greetings from me and my family, your devoted Tom Savage. P.S. Have you seen the next football game that will be played in Saluzzo next Sunday for a silver cup? This message is signed Tom Savage, not John. So why is he known as John? It also left me wondering many other questions - what happened to him and his family? What were their names? Were there any more children? Did they stay in Italy? I started to search the internet in May 2016 for any information on "John Savage". After two nights of research, a different name kept popping up: "Herbert Kilpin", who became a distraction as Kilpin played football with Savage in Turin from 1891 and went on to co-found a football club in the nearby city of Milan which eventually became AC Milan in 1899. I approached Nottingham City of Football to ask who I should approach about having a plaque placed on Kilpin's birthplace - 191 Mansfield Road, Nottingham. They put me in contact with Robert Nieri, who was finalising a book on Kilpin's life, so it made perfect sense to team up with Robert to achieve this long overdue memorial to this Nottingham man. On the 22nd October 2016 a Nottingham City transport bus was named "Herbert Kilpin" in presence of his great-great-niece Helen Stirland. The plaque is due to be mounted later this year. I intended to start my research into the life of Savage once Kilpin's plaque was mounted but about nine weeks ago I received an email from Roger Stirland, the husband of Herbert Kilpin's great-niece, Helen, which included many documents on Savage. I met Roger at the bus unveiling outside Kilpin's birthplace. His research had revealed that John Savage was actually Tom Gordon Savage - born in Lenton, Nottingham on 18th February 1867, and died at the Nottingham City Hospital on 23rd April 1951. Roger had discovered that Tom married his wife Sarah Mallet in Turin and they had two sons both born in Turin - Ettore Savage, on 16th February 1891, and Richard Savage, on 20th December 1892. My wife, Lisa, searched the two sons' names on the internet and found them both listed on a family tree named Mallet with their parents. I messaged the owner of the tree and within a few hours I received a reply from one Bob Mallett in Canada - he copied in Mary Cassidy, another member of the Mallet family, living near Turin. Mary proved to be another very useful contact and by her own admission loves a challenge after I explained that I was wanting to find a living relative of Tom Savage. By now another week had passed and with now Roger and Mary working on the case they quickly found many descendants from the marriage of Tom and Sarah. Roger continued to research Tom's siblings' tree just in case there was not a direct relative to contact. Mary is connected to Tom's wife Sarah in her family tree and was able to locate a relative that knew Tom's granddaughter, Athalie Savage. Athalie is the only child of Richard Savage, Tom's youngest son. Ettore married but had no children so the only hope was that Richard's line continued to the present day. The research shown that Athalie married and had two children, Anna and Alasdair. Mary's cousin wrote an email to Anna who said that they knew each other as young children from school. The research confirmed that both Anna and Alasdair married and, between them, another four direct descendants were born - Anna with her daughter in Oxfordshire and Alasdair in Cape Town, South Africa. I had agreed that it would be best to wait for a reply to the email sent to Anna to see if contact could be made with the family. In December 2016 I had chosen to watch Juventus play at home in Turin on 23rd April 2017 with some other Notts County fans. Once a year I arrange for a group of Notts fans to travel to Turin to see Juve play and in return the Italian Magpies come to Nottingham to see Notts play. This has happened since the friendly match to open the new Juventus Stadium between the two clubs in September 2011. It wasn't until the 24th March that I realised that the date of the game was the 66th anniversary of Tom Gordon Savage passing away. With this in mind I decided to search for Anna, Alasdair and their children on social media. To see how the story ends, read part two of the feature by clicking here. Share your thoughts about this feature by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County and Juventus fans.