Young US fan fulfills dream

by Ashley Houghton

Patrick delighted to finally attend game at the Stadium of Light.

15-year-old Patrick Gottlieb attended his first ever match at the Stadium of Light last Saturday after a three-year affiliation with the Black Cats from across the pond.

Patrick, who is from Altadena, Los Angeles, has supported Sunderland since the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign – when his football craze began.

However, Patrick told it was almost another red and white team he was going to support.

“My whole family are Manchester United fans and I wanted to choose a different team,” Patrick said.

“It was two years ago and I was going to choose Stoke because they looked like a good team, they were predicted to finish 10th.

“I then walked downstairs and saw the highlights of Liverpool v Sunderland and I saw Sebastian Larsson’s scissor-kick and I saw the ‘S’land’ in the top corner and I looked it up and it said they were going to finish seventh so I decided they would be my team.

“My brother and my cousin didn’t think I would carry it on but I said I would support them for the rest of my life and I have carried it on.”

Patrick, who cites Craig Gardner as his favourite player, regularly watches the games in the early hours over in the USA.

And two games in particular stick out in his memory.

“My two favourite games are the 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers and of course the derby win last season,” he said.

“They [Blackburn] had scored first and then in the last ten minutes David Vaughan scored his first goal for the club and then Seb Larsson had another free-kick.

“I’d been ill that morning and I remember sitting on the couch watching it."

Patrick was lucky enough to be staying in the same hotel as his heroes prior to his overwhelming trip to the Stadium of Light for the clash with Fulham.

“We got really lucky and we were staying in the same hotel as the players, we weren’t allowed to go too near but it was awesome being there and seeing them walk by,” Patrick continued.

“It was sheer luck that we chose that hotel. I love the Stadium of Light – it’s much bigger than it comes across on TV.”