Gyan steps in to cheer-up Sunderland fan Billy

DELIGHTED: Asamoah Gyan has promised to sign Billy Ellison's Sunderland strip.
DELIGHTED: Asamoah Gyan has promised to sign Billy Ellison's Sunderland strip.
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STRIKER Asamoah Gyan has offered to meet a five-year-old fan who got his name on his Sunderland top just days before the Ghana international left the club.

As reported in the Echo, little Billy Ellison had been begging his dad Carl to get his favourite player’s name put on the back of his red-and-white shirt.

File photo dated 20/08/2011 of Asamoah Gyan, Sunderland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday September 10, 2011. Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan is set to join United Arab Emirates side Al-Ain on a season-long loan, the Premier League club confirmed today. See PA story SOCCER Sunderland Gyan. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

File photo dated 20/08/2011 of Asamoah Gyan, Sunderland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday September 10, 2011. Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan is set to join United Arab Emirates side Al-Ain on a season-long loan, the Premier League club confirmed today. See PA story SOCCER Sunderland Gyan. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

But just days after Carl forked out £30 for the strip, it was announced Gyan had left Sunderland for United Arab Emirates side Al-Ain.

Gyan has since seen the Echo story and has now invited Billy and Carl to Ghana’s friendly with Nigeria on October 11 at Watford’s Vicarage Road ground, a rearranged match originally postponed due to the riots in London.

Gyan wrote on micro-blogging website Twitter: “To Billy re, sunderland echo, i will be back at SAFC very soon and whenever im in da uk, i will sign ur top 4 u.

“Pls dont be upset. God bless.” (sic)

He also said that someone should put Carl in touch with his management so that Billy can get his shirt signed by his hero.

Gyan added: “Dont want to see any child upset over me. I have a child so i know what its like.” (sic)

Several Sunderland AFC fans have left comments on Twitter praising Gyan for offering an olive branch to Billy.

The story was even picked up by African website Ghana Soccernet.

Billy’s mum Kirsty, 30, said: “His manager rang last night and she said he wants Billy to go Ghana’s game with Nigeria.

“She said he’ll take time out to see Billy and sign his shirt and also give him a signed Ghana shirt.

“Billy is dead excited. He’s over the moon and it’s brilliant.”

Carl, 33, added: “I think it’s a nice thing for him to do.

“My argument was more with the football club rather than Gyan.

“But for your modern footballer to get in touch like this is quite refreshing.

“The guy has had so much bad press over the move.

“Billy’s probably going to have to learn that footballers do move on all the time.”