Meet the father and son Sunderland AFC fans whose hilarious half-time challenge at the Stadium of Light has become an internet smash hit
A father and son have entertained thousands of Sunderland AFC fans and become internet sensations after being the first to take part in new half-time entertainment at the Stadium of Light.
Dad Ralphy Lane, 63, and son Iain Lane, 33, were the first pair to take part in a new fan challenge during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Luton Town.
Ralphy was tasked with running around the perimeter of the pitch while clutching a ball before then having to run onto the pitch and score in the North Stand goal.
All that had to happen while he was being chased by his son Iain, breathing down his neck.
And the new competition brought hilarious results, with dad Ralphy slipping on the turf at last moment, producing large cheers from the crowd of 37,000.
A video taken by Sunderland Echo sports writer Richard Mennear of the moment has now been watched more 2.5 million times.
Iain, from The Broadway, said he loved every minute of the experience and has been delighted by the positive reaction they have had from fans.
He said: “I know one of the organisers of the half-time thing and I have been asking to do the ‘Crossbar Challenge’ for a while as I have always fancied it.
“The club contacted me on Saturday morning and asked if I would like to take part in the new challenge and asking if my dad would be up for it to do a father and son thing.
“We both said yes and I was OK up to the point where I had to go on to the pitch when I suddenly thought; ‘a lot of people are watching so if I fall or get beat I’ll never live it down!’”
With 30 years between the pair, dad Ralphy, from St Michael’s Court, was given a short head start before his son gave chase.
Praising his dad’s fitness in running round the pitch, Iain said: “It’s commendable that he was able to run like that after four pints before!
“I was really impressed with the way that he managed to get round at that speed.
“If it was not for his fall I don’t think I would have caught him!”
The pair who work together at electrical firm Buffalo Power Services in Washington, said they can be quite competitive.
Iain added: “A lot of my mates where there and some of them were going down for their half-time pie when they heard me and Ralphy’s names so they headed back out to watch it.
“We have seen sent a lot of footage of it from all different angles and the reaction has been really good.
“But I didn’t realise until I got home on the night when my phone as going into meltdown with loads of comments.
“I wasn’t expecting to get that reaction and had got sent a lot of messages from people say that they thought it was brilliant.”
And for SAFC fan Iain, he said scoring the goal was a dream come true, adding: “It is something that I always thought abut as a kid, scoring a goal at the Stadium of Light, so it was a moment that I’ll never forget.”