Sir Tim Rice sings the praises of new Sunderland boss O’Neill

Sir Tim Rice led the Carols of Light concert at Durham Cathedral.
Sir Tim Rice led the Carols of Light concert at Durham Cathedral.
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ONE of the most influential men in the world of West End musicals has been singing the praises of SAFC’s new manager.

Lyricist Sir Tim Rice, whose collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber have spawned musicals including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, and The Wizard of Oz, was in the region on Thursday for a star-studded event at Durham Cathedral.

Dated: 06/12/2011'Meeting the press......New Sunderland Manager Martin O Neill speaking at a news conference at The Stadium of Light this afternoon as he starts his job to take Sunderland away from the relegation zone ...' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES

Dated: 06/12/2011'Meeting the press......New Sunderland Manager Martin O Neill speaking at a news conference at The Stadium of Light this afternoon as he starts his job to take Sunderland away from the relegation zone ...' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES

He curated the Carols of Light concert in his role as trustee of the SAFC Foundation.

A devoted Black Cats fan since the age of seven, it’s a cause – and a team – the Grammy Award-winning lyricist feels passionately about.

He said: “I’ve been to quite a few matches this season, but not as many as I would have liked. I went to see them at Old Trafford and I catch them when they play in London.”

Though Sir Tim was born in Buckinghamshire, he has followed SAFC since his school days because he liked the name.

He added: “I’m very pleased about Martin O’Neill. Hopefully he will bring a change of fortune. I do feel sorry for Steve Bruce though.

“He was unlucky. It always seemed as though Sunderland were about to turn it around, but then they would lose it in the last 10 minutes.

“I’m very hopeful that if anyone can set us up the league tables, Martin O’Neill can.”

The Carols of Light concert, featuring Joe McElderry, baritone Sir Thomas Allen, musician Rick Wakeman and singer and actress Barbara Dickson, raised £80,000 for the SAFC Foundation and the Durham Cathedral Music Endowment Fund.

Twitter: @SunechoKaty