The derby was a day to remember in more ways than one for talented Tom Smith.
Not only did the 11-year-old get to witness his beloved Black Cats defeat their arch rivals for the sixth time in a row, he got one step closer to performing on stage at the Stadium of Light.
One day, the singer and guitarist hopes to follow in the footsteps of Foo Fighters and Bruce Springsteen to headline at the stadium, but on Sunday he got to do the next best thing - playing the venue’s fan zone.
The East Rainton Primary School pupil has defied a rare heart condition to chase his dreams of becoming a singer.
And his talents have not gone unnoticed. He’s performed with the likes of chart-topper James Bay, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Hyde & Beast and Frankie & the Heartstrings, and taken to the stage at festivals including Glastonbury, T in the Park and Corbridge.
Ahead of an appearance at the MTV Europe Music Awards, James was among those to congratulate Tom on his derby day performance.
He tweeted: “Go smash it today Tom lad, have a great gig!”
Tom’s dad Andrew, who runs car dealership TRG Houghton, said: “He loved every second of it, everyone was so nice to him. It was a brilliant experience singing Sunderland songs to Sunderland fans. If only there was a derby every week!”
Tom was born with hypoplastic left-heart syndrome, which means the left side of his heart is severely underdeveloped.
He often performs to help charity Little Hearts Matter, which has supported the youngster through several lifesaving operations.