Sunderland fans’ favourite beach ball is part of museum exhibition

Dated: 17/10/2009'Goal... Sunderland's Darren Bent's shot beats Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina after deflectiong of a red balloon to score the Wearsiders first goal in the match at the Stadium of Light.'' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES
Dated: 17/10/2009'Goal... Sunderland's Darren Bent's shot beats Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina after deflectiong of a red balloon to score the Wearsiders first goal in the match at the Stadium of Light.'' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES
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BLACK Cats fans’ favourite beach ball will be bouncing into a top spot at a football museum.

Ahead of tomorrow’s Liverpool v Sunderland match, the National Football Museum has announced that the ball that secured Sunderland a 1-0 victory against the Merseyside club will be on display at the museum’s new home in Manchester.

Kevin Barlow with the actual beach ball that scored Sunderland's winning goal against Liverpool which he bid for and won at auction.

Kevin Barlow with the actual beach ball that scored Sunderland's winning goal against Liverpool which he bid for and won at auction.

In October 2009, the beach ball claimed a place in the history books after being thrown on to the Stadium of Light pitch by a Liverpool fan just before the match.

Five minutes into the game, Sunderland striker Darren Bent kicked a shot at the goal, which deflected off the inflatable, sending Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina towards the wrong ball.

As he reached out for the beach ball, the match ball passed into the back of the net.

Football fans across the country attempted to get their hands on the ball but Sunderland AFC supporter Kevin Barlow, 45, who owns a greengrocers’ in Fulwell, managed to grab it.

He paid £411 for the famous inflatable at a charity auction for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

He agreed to loan the world’s most expensive beach ball to the National Football Museum, where it took pride of place next to the ball used when England won the 1966 World Cup.

And now, it is set to become part of the Laws and Regulations section in the new museum, which will open its doors in Manchester in the summer.

Kevin said: “My wife and I are very excited that this important piece of football history is going to be put on display at the National Football Museum.”

Sally Hawley, collections officer at the museum, added: “While we realise there is controversy surrounding this, we need to show all sides of the debate so this is a great object for us to display at the new National Football Museum.

“This is an important object in recent footballing history because it means lots of different things to different people. While it’s a fun thing for many it has also created discussions over the rules of the game.”

Twitter: @sunechochief