SUNDERLAND has finally scored cup glory after inspiring an author to create his own top team.
SAFC season ticket holder Simon Bartram, 45, has dedicated Up For The Cup to his fellow Black Cat followers with a note “For Sunderland fans everywhere – it’ll be OK in the end.”
The story revolves around Seaburn City, who have made it to their first ever cup final.
But disaster hits when star striker Julio Poom’s pre-match good luck ritual is sabotaged and super fan Charlie Horsewill and his dad have to save the day.
Simon, who was at Wembley for Sunderland’s Capital One Cup final defeat to Manchester City, came up with the team’s name as he and wife Nicola, 45, and son Alfie, seven, walked along Seaburn beach.
And the players bear an uncanny resemblance to SAFC legends with names such as Norbert Quinn-Phillips, Samson Gabbiadini and Herbert Porterfield with Tommy Montgomery in between the sticks. The cup hopefuls are managed by Big Cyril Stokoe.
Author Simon – best known for his Man on the Moon series – usually takes about a year to complete his books, but finished this within nine months to capitalise on the build up to the World Cup.
He said: “It was finished in December and it was consciously put out before the World Cup. The players’ names were working names really, but as I was going on I thought about changing them then decided no.
“I worked with them for nearly a year, so I got used to them.
“There were so many favourite players over the years. I put them all into a hat and got my son to pull them out, then I put them with stupid kind-of first names.”
While the Sunderland references are rife, one nod to the club was ruled out – the team’s colours, with red and yellow chosen instead.
“We couldn’t put them in red and white,” added Simon, from Hebburn. “It wouldn’t have been put on sale in Newcastle, then half of Sheffield, then Portsmouth has a rivalry with Southampton.
“I used yellow because it looks attractive from a distance, and I thought as for red and white, I just couldn’t go that far.”
l Up For The Cup is published by Templar and is £11.99.