Former star recalls thrill of joining boyhood heroes.
Ex-Sunderland man Colin Suggett is red and white through and through – and says he's a lucky man to have played for the club he supported as a boy.
Suggett grew up watching Sunderland from the terraces before joining the playing staff at Roker Park, making his debut during the 1966-67 season.
And the journey from supporter to player was a thrilling one, particularly for a lad who had grown up only a few miles down the road in Chester-le-Street.
“I started watching Sunderland at the age of 10 with my elder brother,” he explained.
“We'd get the bus, get off at the Wheatsheaf and run down Roker Avenue into the Clock Stand.
“I kept going and eventually signed here as my first club. I could have gone to quite a few other clubs – but Sunderland are my home team.
“I later moved back and I've been living here since 1979.”
He added: “The whole family were Sunderland supporters and it was wonderful to play for my home town team.
“I was very lucky – I played in front of 65,000 people and in the derbies and things like that.”
Suggett celebrated his birthday on December 30 and says one of his strongest footballing memories also took place on that day.
“I played in a derby match on my birthday and we were leading by a goal with five minutes to go,” he explained.
“Their big centre-half jumped up to equalise from a corner in something like the 88th minute.
“It was a real sickener but the derbies are always wonderful occasions.”
Suggett left Roker Park to join WBA and later served Norwich before moving into coaching.
However, his main love since retiring has been scouting, something he has continued to this day.
“I do part-time scouting at Norwich and I've been in the scouting game for 20 years now,” he added.
“I was working at Rangers before that. [Norwich chief scout] Ewan Chester took me to Rangers, and then when he went to Norwich he asked me to go and work for him.
“I do match assessments as well as looking at senior players.”