Soccer-mad Swedish football supporters enjoyed a day out to remember as they travelled to Sunderland see their heroes play at the Stadium of Light.
More than 70 men and women from the Scandinavian country came to Wearside to see Sunderland’s game against Manchester United.
Their visit was organised following a chance meeting by financial adviser David Newham and former professional footballer Peter Cirsmaz, who got talking when Peter and his wife Eva took in the Beyonce concert at the stadium last year.
Peter mentioned that he and a number of friends from his native Lund in Sweden would like to watch a game at the ground.
And David helped to arrange tickets for the fans see their countrymen, the Black Cats’ Seb Larsson and United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in action.
Speaking to the Echo, David, 48, a director of Advanced IFA Limited, which is based in Sea Road, Fulwell, said: “They’ve all loved coming here and have really enjoyed it.
“They got here on Saturday and stayed at the Hilton Hotel next to the ground.
“The club were great and managed to take them on a stadium tour and show them the dressing rooms before the game.
“I’ve already had some wonderful messages about how much they liked being here.”
The game proved to be eventful for the visitors’ compatriots, with Ibrahimovic opening the scoring with a low shot while Larsson was controversially given a straight red card by referee Craig Pawson for a tackle on Red Devils midfielder Ander Herrera.
Jose Mourinho’s side went on to win the match 3-0.
The fan group are now hoping to return to Wearside again in the future.
“I managed to take them down to the seafront and they were just blown away by the scenery,” added David, who is married to Allison.
“They really like the North East and the people here so they want to come for another game next season.
“They’ve invited me over to see a Malmo match too so hopefully I’ll go and take some others with me.”