Sunderland haven’t been anywhere near a Wembley appearance this season with early exits in both cups, but one former player – Julio Arca – will be gracing the national stadium with South Shields in the FA Vase final.
I am sure every Sunderland fan will be rooting for Julio, who during his time on Wearside became a huge favourite producing many great moments for the fans to savour.
I was at Bradford when he scored that goal, chipping the keeper after running from one box to the other and that is the goal that is right up there on my all-time list of the best Sunderland goals I have seen.
Peter Reid signed him as a teenager from Argentina and it was remarkable how quickly he settled in, scoring on his debut and it was as if he was a local lad coming through the ranks not from the other side of the world such was his pride in the shirt he was wearing.
No wonder the fans took to him.
I met Julio at a function at the Stadium of Light the summer before last and he was just as I expected.
Courteous, good company and it was a pleasure to meet him. I hope it happens again soon.
Julio never got the chance to play at Wembley for Sunderland so at his age to finally get there with South Shields is a great story and along with all of his Sunderland fans I want him and the rest of his Shields team mates to bring silverware back to the North East.