Lynden Gooch's brilliant gesture and promise to young Sunderland fan that supporters will love
Footballers can receive bad press from certain quarters.
Many outlets frame players as out-of-touch and money-driven with a distorted view of life and a lack of understanding towards the paying punter.
That can’t be said of Lynden Gooch.
The American attacker returned to Lee Johnson’s squad following an injury as Sunderland were defeated by Charlton Athletic at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, coming on as a second-half substitute.
But despite the disappointing result, Gooch still took the time to spend with one young supporter after the game.
Eight-year-old Sunderland fan Ayla Willis from Jarrow was lucky enough to meet Gooch following the defeat against Charlton with the arrangements made by Sky Sports presenter Tom White.
Speaking to The Echo Ayla’s mam, Becca Willis, explained how the story behind the encounter and the promise Gooch has made her daughter.
"We were at Lincoln away and we bumped into Tom White from Sky Sports and Ayla had written I heart Gooch on a sign.
"He took a picture and sent it to Lynden and Lynden said he was going to give her his shirt but Covid hit and we haven’t had a chance to meet up with him.
"With it being her birthday this week, Tom White arranged for her to meet up with him after the game.
"She actually didn’t get a shirt.
"When Gooch came down he said he was really sorry but he couldn't get one from the kitman or the club shop he promised he will.”
Indeed, Gooch took to Twitter after the game to reiterate his promise to Ayla in a lovely gesture to the youngster.
Gooch’s actions help reinforce the feeling that this current crop of Sunderland players really do understand what it means to play for the club.
Back in August, Elliot Embleton visited Sunderland fan Malcolm Innerd, 75, who had been ill in the ICU at Sunderland Royal Hospital for several weeks before his release.
Speaking to The Echo, Malcolm’s son, Ian Innerd, revealed all about Embleton’s classy gesture to his father just days before the game against Wycombe Wanderers in which Embleton scored.