Sunderland superfan George, 92, is going to Wembley after club make sure dedicated supporter doesn't miss Checkatrade Trophy final

A Sunderland AFC superfan will be heading to Wembley after the club planned the day for their dedicated 92-year-old supporter so he won't miss the Checkatrade Trophy final.

By Poppy Kennedy
Friday, 22 March, 2019, 15:13
Sunderland owner Stewart Donald and George Forster

George Forster, chairman of the Sunderland Supporters Association, has been to almost every Black Cats games since 1962.

But he'd made the tough decision to miss the Checkatrade Trophy final as he'd struggle to make it to London alone.

Unbeknownst to George, his friend Joanne Youngson had contacted the club to let them know he wasn't unable to attend on his own.

And when the club found out that one of their most dedicated fans wouldn't be there, Sunderland owner Stewart Donald told George in person he wouldn't let him miss it.

Now, George will be heading down to London on the staff bus with his son-in-law courtesy of Sunderland AFC.

George, who received the Championship Supporter of the Year award last year, said: "I'm a season card holder so I was entitled to a ticket. Joanne helped me set everything up on the computer but circumstances meant I'd struggle to go alone.

George went to his first Sunderland match in the 1930s

"I was at a charity event where Stewart Donald was speaking. Afterwards he came over and asked you're coming to Wembley I told him 'I promise I'm not'.

"He said 'you are coming, I'll make sure you get two tickets to come down'.

"I was absolutely elated when it was all put in place. My daughter was understandably concerned about me going down but she's happy for me that I can go with my son-in-law Billy Redford now.

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"I won't be letting the side down, I'll be there.

"We're going down with the staff on the bus but I don't know what time we're leaving yet.

"I'm staying at my daughter's the night before so I don't miss it, I'll have to make sure I get to bed early."

The dedicated fan added: "The final represents a lot of hope. I want to see Sunderland on the map, the place needs a lift so if we can win something like a trophy that will be nice."

Joanne, who volunteers at the Sunderland Supporters Association, contacted Chris Waters, fans liaison officer at the club, when George told her he wasn't able to go to the match.

The supporter, who has just renewed her 29th season ticket, had registered George for a ticket and they were trying to find a suitable seat for him.

"We were looking for seats and they were all up in the god's. He had to make the hard decision that he was going to go," said Joanne.

"He even gave his loyalty number to someone else so that his ticket wasn't wasted."

Stewart Donald was speaking at the South Shields/Washington, Cleadon and Houghton joint branch talk, which was held at the Victors to raise awareness of men's mental health, when he approached George to tell him the good news.

"I would like to say the new owners have brought the family feeling back to the club - it had been gone for a while," said Joanne.

"This is what it's all about."