Former Man Utd star Luis Nani left hundreds of fans disappointed when he didn’t show up to see them, as planned, in Magherafelt this morning [Saturday].
The event, one of three the star was due to attend in Mid Ulster, was called off almost two hours after he was due at Meadowbank arena.
His appearance was not organised by the council run venue, but a third party who had booked their premises.
He will not be appearing at the Jungle or Secrets Nightclub as planned either.
Event organiser Alberto Debarros - who booked a pitch at the sports arena and promised the soccer star to gather support for his new football team Sofia Farmer - phoned the centre to break the bad news shortly before noon.
He said Nani had been ordered home by football bosses in Portugal as he was due to play a match on Sunday.
“It’s a disgrace to leave hundreds of kids waiting.” he conceded, “I do not have the words to apologise or make them [sic] kids go home happy.”
When the Mail put to him that Nani was due at 10am - and despite knowing at 10.30am he would not be coming, they still kept everyone waiting - he said he was trying to convince the player to honour the event, even if just for 15 minutes.
Asked whether he was ever here in the first place, Debarros said the soccer player had dinner at Mary’s in Magherafelt last night and offered to provide proof that he was supposed to be staying until Sunday morning - but was called home.
Mary Mullan and her children had been waiting in line to see him since 10am.
“We thought it was starting at 10am but half ten would have been good,” she said.
“It’s not good at all that he didn’t come - It’s a disgrace. I’m leaving now before I get really cross.”
The feeling amongst everyone at the arena was one of disbelief, anger and disappointment.
When asked what they thought, the Liverpool supporters who turned up said they “came to see him letting everybody down”.