BLACK Cats van man Paul Welch hopes changes to his SAFC-themed motor will see Gus Poyet’s heroes deliver cup glory.
The Echo told last year how season ticket holder Paul, of Seaham, had kitted out his Vauxhall Combo into a shrine to his team ahead of this season’s first Tyne-Wear derby.
The van was originally decorated with memorable Sunderland victories against rivals Newcastle, but the club’s run to this year’s Capital One Cup final has seen Paul’s quest to show his commitment to the red and white army go even further.
“It’s been a mad season so I decided to put the two derby scores from the past few months on the van,” said Paul 26.
“I’ve also got “We’re on our way to Wembley” and “Cheesy chips on Wembley Way” there as well because that’s what we’ve been singing to the Mags.”
Paul is now making final adjustments before he and dad Barry, 56, travel in the van down to London for Sunday’s showdown and has turned his house into a shrine,
“We’re making a weekend of it, but hopefully we’ll get a lot of photos taken on Wembley Way in front of the ground.
“I called the van “Rowell” after Gary Rowell and I’m hoping he’ll be there and will sign it for me.”
Despite Sunderland still facing a battle to stave off relegation from the Premier League this season, Paul says the campaign will already go down as one of the most memorable for Black Cats followers.
“The team’s done brilliantly to get to Wembley and those results over Newcastle,” said the engineer, who has been a season ticket holder at the Stadium of Light for more than a decade.
“Manchester City are an excellent team, but we’ve beaten them once this season and the final’s at a neutral venue, so anything can happen.
“You only have to look back to 1973 and we were massive underdogs then against Leeds. Anything is possible.”