Prize winners in hot seat

by Kate Smith

Fans line up in team photo.

Two lucky Sunderland fans won the chance to sit next to their favourite players in the club’s ‘Biggest Team Photo’ event.

Hundreds of fans descended upon the Stadium of Light to join Martin O’Neill and his squad in the specially arranged photo call.

Judith Graham Smith, 28, from Peterlee and nine-year old Alfie Troup were drawn at random to sit in the seats right next to their heroes, after they entered competitions on the club’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Upon finding out she won the prize, Judith revealed: “I was really excited, I screamed so loud that my mam and dad, who were upstairs, heard me!

“They were over the moon for me.”

Season card holder Alfie, who was hoping he’d get to sit next to his favourite player, Danny Rose, told “When my mam told me we had won the competition I thought she was joking.

“I haven’t told my friends – so they’ll get a surprise when they see me in the picture.”

Scores of fans greeted the Black Cats as they made their way to stands to sit amongst supporters for the first-ever photo call of its kind at the club.

Steven Clarke from Ryhope enjoyed the opportunity to take part.

The 13 year-old said: “It was brilliant. It was great to see the players up close and in the stands instead of on the pitch.

“I was just a couple of rows behind them today.”

Steven was joined by school mate, Lewis Hodgkinson, the Venerable Bede pupil admitted he couldn’t think of many better ways to spend the half term.

“My favourite player is Lee Cattermole.” Lewis commented. “I got to meet him today and it really was nice to see all of the players.

“It was a great way to spend the school holidays.”