Football fan from Hartlepool collapses and misses SAFC big game at Wembley

A photo of Sunderland fans which John Mulcahy took shortly before he collapsed and missed the game.
A photo of Sunderland fans which John Mulcahy took shortly before he collapsed and missed the game.

A football fan from Hartlepool was left devastated when he missed SAFC’s Wembley match after collapsing due to a serious back injury.

Despite injuring his back while fishing, John Mulcahy was still determined to make it to the Sunderland v Portsmouth Checkatrade Trophy final.

Sunderland fan, John Mulcahy from Hartlepool, shortly before he collapsed and missed the game.

Sunderland fan, John Mulcahy from Hartlepool, shortly before he collapsed and missed the game.

The dad-of-two said he was in agony, but managed to join the thousands of fans in the capital for the event.

However, after a Saturday afternoon enjoying the pre-match atmosphere, John’s condition worsened and he collapsed near his hotel, forcing him to miss the game.

The 53-year-old, who is due to undergo surgery on his back this week, said he was casting his line incorrectly and damaged his back.

He said: “As a huge SAFC fan I was determined there was nothing going to stop me going to the final.”

The atmosphere with all the fans was amazing

John Mulcahy

John, who lives in Seaton Carew, arranged for someone to give him a lift, but was let down at the last minute.

He said: “I went on a Facebook page for fans and luckily a group of lads said they would take me and dropped me off at my hotel.”

The financial advisor said he then walked half a mile to the tube station to get to Trafalgar Square.

John said: “The atmosphere with all the fans was amazing, it was really magical. To be part of it was unbelieveable.”

However, John said he was really struggling and his back and legs kept giving way.

He said: “I managed to make it back to the hotel, but just collapsed and was sitting on the floor asking for help.

“I was wearing my Sunderland top and I think everyone just thought I was drunk, because they were just walking by.”

Eventually, John managed to pull himself up and get into the hotel room, but realised there was no way he could make it to the match.

He said: “I was devastated to miss being at the match. I ended up watching it on my mobile phone.”

John says he would probably still have needed the operation to the damaged disc in his back, but going to London didn’t help the sitation.

But, he said despite the drama he doesn’t regret going because it was such an amazing atmosphere.

Around 40,000 SAFC fans made the trip to Wembley to cheer on their team, which lost out to Portsmouth on penalties.