No Ordinary Saturday
On Saturday December 23rd, a party of 30 children from across the school were invited to a hospitality day at the Stadium of Light to watch SAFC take on Birmingham City in a vital Championship match. Mr Lindstedt, a number of parents and the children arrived at the Stadium at 11am and were escorted to Quinn’s Bar where they were met by host and Sunderland AFC legend Jimmy Montgomery who took them to the home changing room to see the first team’s playing kit being laid out. The children then ran out of the tunnel to pitch side before taking their seats in the home dugout for a photo opportunity with Jimmy, who then led them up to the Montgomery Suite where they took their seats and were presented with a goodie bag. These contained a SAFC hat, scarf, gloves, autograph book, pen, key ring, puzzle, match day programme and their own photo from the pitch side. In the build up to the match, the children enjoyed a delicious meal, had a go at guessing the attendance, helped make the pre match tombola draw, met ex SAFC players Dick Malone, David Rush and Lee Howey as well as ex Birmingham City, Newcastle United, Portsmouth and Reading player Kevin Dillon, who was a pupil at St Cuthbert’s long before his professional football career began, and had photographs taken with current players Lee Cattermole and Paddy McNair.
Wrapped up against the elements, we took our seats in the stand for the game however, a disappointing first half performance saw the teams head into the interval with the score level at 1-1 after Lewis Grabban had cancelled out Sam Gallagher’s opening goal for the visitors. We returned to the Montgomery suite at half time for refreshments before watching a second half that failed to separate the teams despite Birmingham being reduced to 10 men with the dismissal of goal scorer Gallagher. Despite witnessing their home side dropping two valuable home points, the children remained in good spirits as they returned to the Montgomery Suite for more refreshments before meeting man of the match George Honeyman, who patiently signed autographs for all of them. On leaving the Stadium, the children were given another surprise when club legend Kevin Ball appeared and again signed autographs for the whole party.
A tired but excited group then travelled back to Broadway after what was a day that will live in their memories for many years to come. The children were an absolute credit to our school and it was commented on, not only by Jimmy Montgomery, but also by a number of members of staff on duty at the Stadium of Light, how polite and well behaved they were all day. Mr Lindstedt was very proud of each and every one of them and even the poor result couldn’t spoil what was a truly brilliant day.