Mackems in Milan! Sunderland AFC fans to play football tournament and honour Bradley Lowery
Mackems are in Milan to take part in a football tournament and honour cancer battler Bradley Lowery.
A group of Black Cats fans are in the Italian city for the seven-a-side event, where they will face off against other sides such as Newcastle United, Celtic, Hearts and Tottenham.
There are also other sides from Europe such as Spain taking part.
Italian Sunderland supporter Enrico Milani is among those who has put together the team, who are competing this weekend.
Fellow Sunderland fan Alan Simpson, 51, from Penshaw, is part of the group and said: “I went last year and it was just a great experience and the Italian people are very friendly.
“We finished about 11th out of 20 sides so we’re hoping to do better this time.
“We’ve got a few good players signed up so we think there’s a decent chance we’ll get higher than 11th.
“There are four groups so if you manage to top that then you are guaranteed to be in the top four.”
The Sunderland team will wear a special crest incorporating the old SAFC badge, which changed when the club moved to the Stadium of Light in 1997.
It will also wear Bradley’s name, with players wanting to pay tribute to the Blackhall Colliery youngster as he battles terminal neuroblastoma.
“He is amazing little kid and we wanted to show our support for him,” added Alan, whose son Jason and son-in-law Craig Hodgson will both be among those playing.
“If he hasn’t touched your heart by how brave he has been then you don’t have one as far as I’m concerned.
“His parents have been fantastic as well and they have crammed a lifetime of memories into his six years.
“We wanted to do this with not knowing how long he’s got left because he deserves to be recognised.”
North East-based Steadfast Security have helped with transport arrangements for the group during their time in Italy.