Meet the newborn baby boy named Roker in a special tribute to Sunderland AFC

An adorable baby boy has been given an unique name in a special tribute to his father’s childhood watching Sunderland play at Roker Park.

Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 7:34 pm

Rod and Queen McPherson welcomed their third child into the world on Thursday, March 26, but it was the native-northern Rod who had the honour of picking their little boy’s name.

A lifelong Sunderland fan and having spent hours playing on Sunderland’s beaches when he was growing up, the 51-year-old, who now lives in South Africa, chose a name that brought back many happy memories.

And at just a few days old, Roker Cairo McPherson is among the youngest Black Cats fans and has already been photographed in the team’s red and white stripes.

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Roker in his Sunderland AFC shirt with dad Rod McPherson

Rod says his back up choice was to name him Sol, for Stadium of Light, but admitted he thought ‘it might be a bit much’.

Rod, who grew up in County Durham, said: “Queen wanted to call our son Roderick or Harvey (my names). I made a deal that she would agree to something more sentimental to me, and she just loved that it represents my memories of Roker Beach and Roker Park in my childhood and as adult.

“The reactions from people so far is that they love it. Various football buddies think it is hilarious and are jealous they could not name their child Old Trafford or Anfield. My buddy Alastair supports Dumbarton, a team that played at Boghead which definitely wouldn’t be allowed!

“One friend has said that Roker will be explaining the origins of his name for rest of life. My take on it is what a great unusual story to get talking to people.”

Little Roker has been named in tribute to his father's childhood and Sunderland AFC

Rod and Queen, 24, now have three children; four-year-old John Frances and little sister Chiara Lily, aged two.

After moving from Durham to the Isle of Man and Spain between 1998 and 2004, Rod moved to Johannesburg in March of 2004 to set up a Lloyds Bank International office.

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Now he owns a business focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy and lives in a small village called Kenton-on-Sea in Eastern Cape.

Baby Roker pictured with mum Queen and dad Rod

A dedicated Sunderland supporter, Rod has been in the grounds of some of the club’s most memorable moments – from euphoria to heartbreak.

“The biggest game, for me, that I attended was the final game at Roker Park,” said Rod.

“The best game I attended was 4-1 rout of Chelsea when I was in the corner where Kevin Philips and Niall Quinn came to celebrate.“I was at Wimbledon when we were relegated, Wembley when we lost to Swindon, Old Trafford with my Dad when Eric Cantona did his magic.

“So my best and worst memories of Sunderland were at Roker, the Stadium of Light and many away games.”

Eldest son John, 4, with his little brother Roker

The family are now planning to visit the North East in 2021 where Rod hopes to show Queen and his children where he spent majority of his own childhood with trips to Holy Island, Hadrians Wall, Beamish, Roker Beach – and of course a trip to see Sunderland play at the Stadium of Light.

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John Frances and Chiara Lily McPherson, two.

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