Win five signed copies of new book about Sunderland fans' first game in Europe in 1973

Five Go Mad in Budapest is the latest book published by ALS – and we’ve got five signed copies to give away.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th October 2019, 5:43 pm
SAFC Five Go Mad In Budapest author Ray Agar with his book with help from A Love Supreme

A novel by life-long SAFC fan Ray Agar, it’s inspired by his trip to Budapest to see SAFC’s first ever game in Europe.

Although the characters he’s created for the book are fictional, the events, including the goal by Dennis Tueart, are all based on Ray’s real trip behind the Iron Curtain of the then communist area.

Ray now lives in Leeds, but was born in County Durham, and made his first trip to Roker Park on April 27, 1961 to see Sunderland draw with Liverpool.

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SAFC Five Go Mad In Budapest book written by Ray Agar

He said: “Following Sunderland is in my blood. I knew who I would be supporting from 18-months-old, my dad laid it down.”

Ray was a student in 1973 but had saved enough money from a job on a building site to go to Budapest to watch his beloved Black Cats.

He added: “It was such an interesting trip and it was always my intention to write a book on the trip to Budapest when Sunderland were next in Europe. So, I waited and waited and as I got closer to 70 than 60 I decided it was no good waiting for Sunderland and that I should write it anyway.”

In the book, after several pints in Southwick Social Club, character Weed and his friends Elvis, Marion, Polly and Bamber go on a journey from the social club to The Imperial Vaults, Sedgefield Races, Ponteland Airport, and finally to Budapest.

SAFC Five Go Mad In Budapest book written by Ray Agar

Ray said: “I just started writing and pretty soon I had a book length amount of pages. I’d written a well-received article for ALS in 2015 and they’ve been so helpful with the book.”

*Five Go Mad in Budapest, priced £10, is available from The ALS Shop, Sunderland Waterstones and also from

All proceeds go to local mental health charity Impact North East.

*To be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of the book, answer this question: in which year is Five Go Mad in Budapest set? Email your answer, along with your name and address to [email protected] by November 8. Usual JPI Media competition rules apply.

We have five signed copies of the book to give away