Why Sunderland Football Club gave the Crewe Alexandra club doctor a signed shirt after Grant Leadbitter injury
A Sunderland football fan has told how the team left him an unexpected gift after he helped treated one of their players for injury.
Crewe Alexandra club doctor Austin Doherty is originally from Wearside and was among the medical experts to assist midfielder Grant Leadbitter when he dislocated his shoulder during the clubs’ 2-2 draw at the Alexandra Stadium last weekend.
Although he had disclosed to both the player and Sunderland physio Peter Brand that he was a Sunderland supporter, Austin was still surprised to be handed a signed Black Cats shirt as he left the ground.
Austin, 60, who attended St Thomas Aquinas and St Aidan’s schools, said: "As I was leaving the stadium, the chief steward stopped me and said the Sunderland team had left me Aiden O’Brien’s shirt and signed it as a thank you.
"It was a very nice gesture by them. I was just doing the job I was supposed to and I did not expect any recognition for it.”
While Austin has remained in the North West since studying medicine at university in Manchester, he is still a Sunderland fan and last weekend’s match was the first time the two sides have played each other since he became Crewe’s club doctor seven years ago.
Austin, who was brought up in Seaburn, added: “It was the first fixture I looked for when the fixtures were announced.
"People here know who I support and when I went into the Crewe dressing room before the game they were joking that I was wired up and that I would be saying that Crewe players were injured and needed to be taken off.”
With the shirt signed after O’Brien had worn it during the League One fixture, Austin is unsure yet what to do with it for fear that the autographs will disappear in the wash.
And as for the outcome of the game – in which Sunderland salvaged a point in the 97th minute thanks to a Chris Maguire wonder strike – Austin said: “I was pleased that Sunderland got a point although I think on the day Crewe were the better team.”