Is this Sunderland’s unluckiest fan? Supporter misses Checkatrade Trophy final after falling down pub stairs
Black Cats have a bit of a reputation for being unlucky.
But Lee Bell has got to be the unluckiest of them all after a tumble down the stairs landed him in a London hospital just hours before Sunderland played Portsmouth in the Checkatrade Trophy final.
Lee, 35, headed to the capital on Saturday with friends, preparing to join 40,000 fellow SAFC fans cheering on their team at Wembley on Sunday.
Instead, he had to make do with watching the second half of the game on FaceTime to wife Kate, after spending hours in hospital.
Lee, who works at Nissan, was in a pub off Trafalgar Square on Saturday night with his friends when he lost his footing on a set of stairs, falling to the bottom.
He told the Echo: “To finally have my ticket and get down London and celebrate getting to Wembley with all the fans was amazing, and to have it taken away just before ...”
The venue’s door staff were quick to come to Lee’s aid after his fall, which happened at about 9pm, with his friends taking him straight back to the apartment where they were staying for the weekend.
On Sunday morning, they contacted the NHS 111 number, with an ambulance being dispatched to take Lee to hospital.
After several x-rays, Lee was confirmed to have broken a bone in his heel and sustained ligament damage.
He was discharged from hospital after kick-off and made it back to his accommodation to catch the second-half. He is on crutches and has his foot strapped up in a boot.
“The ambulance crew were amazing,” Lee continued.
“They said they would try and get me to the game, and take me to the closest hospital to Wembley.” But it was not meant to be.
Lee, from High Barnes, also missed Sunderland’s last visit to Wembley in 2014, when they faced Manchester City in the League Cup Final as the match fell between his wedding and honeymoon.
And it’s also not the first break for the 35-year-old, who revealed he is famously unlucky when it comes to injuries.
He has had seven operations and two breaks over the last eight years - and even had people warning him to be careful and “not break anything” during the trip away.
Lee thanked his friends, the pub staff, the emergency services and his wife Kate for their help and patience and added: “I think I might be grounded now.”