It will go down as one of the most memorable images of Liverpool’s Champions League Final victory: the clip of Jordan Henderson walking over, arms outstretched to hug his father Brian before crumpling in tears within the long, loving embrace.
It was a tender moment between father and son but there was also the significance of knowing that six years ago Brian was diagnosed with throat cancer after going to have a cyst removed from his neck.
Initially the former policeman kept the news from his son, then 23, fearful that it might derail his football career. Then, when the radiotherapy treatment began, in which he lost four stone and had a tumour cut from his tongue which left a hole the size of a 50p piece, he told Henderson not to visit him so he would not see him suffering. Lymph nodes were also removed from both sides of his neck.
And there they were, in each other’s arms, in the Wanda Metropolitano stadium, with Henderson holding on tightly which spoke not just of their father-son bond but on the journey they had been through together culminating with him captaining Liverpool to win club football’s greatest prize.
“My dad has been through a lot over the past few years, not only with himself but with his family,” Henderson – whose middle name is Brian – later said. “I am sure he will be so proud to see us win the game and win the Champions League. It will mean the world to him. I am just glad I can put a smile on his face.”