Sunderland-Newcastle derby kick-off change is a match made in heaven

John Slassor and Leanne Kane can now be married without the Sunderland v Newcastle derby match getting in the way on their big day.
John Slassor and Leanne Kane can now be married without the Sunderland v Newcastle derby match getting in the way on their big day.
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SUNDERLAND-MAD groom John Slasor has found a way around a major fixture clash.

The Echo told how the Jobcentre worker was hit by a dose of Murphy’s Law, when he discovered his wedding coincided with SAFC’s home derby clash with Newcastle.

But a change in the kick-off time, from 3pm to noon on August 20, means John can still catch the action while he gets ready to wed fiancee Leanne Kane.

The groom does not, however, want to risk dashing through crowds and police lines to make his way from the Stadium of Light to Our Blessed Lady’s Church, in Washington Village and instead will watch the match on the internet.

“I’m football mad and my partner knows that,” he said. “But I’ve got other priorities and there’s no way I’d jeopardise my wedding going to the match.

“I’m going to be round there with my friends to get ready before the game and watch the match there.”

He added: “The way I’m looking at it is I’m going to be able to watch the game now, but there’s no way I could have risked going to the match – unless Niall Quinn is going to offer to put on a helicopter for us.”

The couple, both 24, live in Helmdon, Sulgrave, with two-year-old daughter Sophie.

They had originally investigated booking the Stadium of Light for their wedding, but were told they had to wait for the fixtures to come out.

“I’m disappointed, but it’s just one of those unfortunate coincidences,” said John.

“I was pretty sure it would be changed, but I was hoping it would be on the Sunday.”

John’s father-in-law-to-be Jimmy will also miss out on going to the match to walk his daughter down the aisle.

“He hasn’t missed a game in 20 years,” said John. “Me and my friends had originally been talking about all sorts of daft ideas, like going to the match in our suits.

“But at the end of the day some things are more important. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

“When I was 16 I might have said ‘football is my life’ and still gone to the match – but I’ve got other priorities now.”

Whatever happens, John’s wedding reception is likely to feature a football-related best man’s speech.

“My best man Gary is a Mag and he’s either going to be gutted or really pleased. You can imagine what he’ll be like if they win,” said John.