Sunderland at Wembley: Checkatrade lay on Wembley VIP treatment for locksmith Paul
Sunderland locksmith Paul Fletcher has the key to Wembley.
Paul, who runs Fletcher Lock and Safe in Sea Road, Fulwell, has been chosen as the official Checkatrade tradesperson for Sunderland AFC - and is off to the national stadium for this weekend’s Checkatrade Trophy final at the sponsor’s expense.
Stadium of Light season ticket holder Paul was chosen as the club’s official tradesperson before the tournament began. He has been a guest of the firm at every round - and will be making an appearance on the pitch at Wembley before Sunday’s 2.30pm kick-off.
Checkatrade has even designed an advert for Paul’s business, which will feature on the pitchside hoardings during the game, while there will also be a mention in the match programme.
Devoted Sunderland fan Paul is delighted to be off to the final.
“Checkatrade have been really good,” he said.
“I have been to every single game in the tournament - they gave me tickets for every round - and they have given me a special logo that I am able to put on my website, saying I am the official Checkatrade tradesperson for SAFC.”
Paul’s dad John set up the business in 1990 and Paul, 42, took over in 2008. Now his 18-year-old son Layton has become the third generation of the family to join.
Paul, 42, is thrilled at the chance to set foot on the Wembley turf - and that his advert will be featured during the game.
“How the hell could I afford to advertise at Wembley?” he said.
Win or lose, he is expecting a once-in-a-lifetime day. “It is just the whole experience of being there,” he said.
“It is not just about the football, is it? It is about the whole occasion.”
The only problem left is deciding who get the remaining three tickets.
“My dad is not well enough to go,” said Paul.
“So there’s me and some of the lads I sit next to at the match. There are four of us.
“Layton has got the invitation at the moment but my friends are all massive Sunderland fans and they are trying to bribe him to let them go.”