English League 1 side name terminally ill five-year-old to their bench

Five-year-old Joshua McCormack won’t be able to make Wednesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy match against Hartlepool United, but he’ll forever be a part of history after Rochdale Football Club travel to Hartlepool’s Victoria Park.

The Rochdale-born boy has been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor and isn’t well enough to make the trip to Hartlepool, but manager Keith Hill named him as one of his seven substitutes for the match. Joshua has served as a mascot for Rochdale before, in August, but he’ll get even higher honors this time. In his absence, he’ll get his name on the teamsheet, his shirt will hang in the locker room before the match and he’ll get the most prestigious spot on the substitutes’ bench.

Said manager Hill:

It is a real honour to name Joshua McCormack as a substitute for tonight’s game. He has touched the hearts of everyone at Rochdale Football Club since we met him for the first time back in February.

No child should have to go through what Joshua is going through and we, as a club and a group of players, will continue to do whatever we can to support him and his family. We hope this one small gesture can bring some light to his family during this difficult time.

Joshua is currently in hospice and Hill, the Rochdale staff and players will visit him on Thursday. They’ll present Joshua and his family with his gameday shirt and an official teamsheet, plus a shirt signed by everyone involved.

What a day for the little guy.