Lifelong Sunderland fan Paul Collingwood will fulfil the dream Black Cats everywhere when he takes in Peter Reid’s pre-match address in August.
Reid, one of the most successful and popular managers in recent history, will be managing Collingwood’s Sunderland side when they take on Newcastle in a testimonial T20 game, at the Emirates Riverside on Sunday, August 20, to celebrate the Durham and England all-rounder’s outstanding career.
The Newcastle side will be managed by Tyneside legend Kevin Keegan, with a battery of players from Collingwood’s career taking part.
Collingwood himself will be wearing the red and white of his boyhood club and is keen to maintain a certain derby record.
He said: “Having Kevin Keegan and Peter Reid involved, I’m looking forward to their team talks before the game for sure! Having them involved adds to it.
“Having Reidy coming back will be great. I love his passion and his enthusiasm for the game.
“Meet the guy and you realise and understand why he’s been so successful. He’s passionate about Sunderland and very infectious to be around.
“I was smiling as soon as he was involved.
“I remember going to a game at the Stadium of Light and he invited me into the manager’s office before a game.
“I couldn’t believe how relaxed he was, laughing, joking. ‘Get yourself a beer Colly’ and this was 10 minutes before going out for kick-off.
“I couldn’t believe it!
“To have him and Kevin Keegan involved, two North East legends, will be fantastic.
“There’s a derby record to uphold, that’s why I’m picking the teams – is it possible to have a 3-0 win in cricket?”
The Durham dressing room, with one of the strongest local contingents of any county, has long been divided by footballing loyalties, friendly rivalry always a talking point.
The 41-year-old sees it as a perfect way to celebrate the North East’s sporting heritage, something he has himself massively contributed too in the past two decades.
He said: “I’m very proud of the North East and what it is all about. Sunderland and Newcastle are a big part of that in terms of football and sport.
“It’s not going to be difficult to pick the teams – people will be passionate about playing for the team they support.
“Mark Stoneman, for example, is going to have to wear black and white, but I’m sure Scotty Borthwick will be playing for Sunderland.
“It’s something you think divides the North-East, but both teams are a huge part of the region. It will be competitive, not too competitive, but a lot of fun too.”
The match, supported by Ward Hadaway, M24Seven and Infiniti Newcastle, will raise funds for the Graham Wylie Foundation, a charity working to improve the lives of vulnerable children and young people across the region.
For more information visit www.Colly40.com and for VIP hospitality / Tipi tickets contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To purchase ground admission tickets, contact the DCCC box office on 0844 499 4466.