A FAMILY of Sunderland fans from Kendal stepped out on hallowed Wembley turf for Sunday’s League Cup Final after winning an online competition.
Fifteen-year-old Ethan Burrow handed the ball to referee Martin Atkinson before kick off as the Black Cats took on Manchester City.
The golden opportunity came after Ethan’s dad, Lee Burrow, won a competition run by sports brands Pro Direct Soccer and Mitre.
Lee, 35, answered a call on social media for footie supporters to prove they were Sunderland or City’s biggest fan by posting a picture and tag of themselves.
Lee posted a shot of himself wearing a Sunderland shirt and posing with Toy story character Buzz Lightyear on a family trip to Disneyland.
His caption read: ‘To infinity and beyond, but Wembley will do!’ “I’d entered a few other competitions to go to the match but had no joy,” said Lee.
“We were really keen to go but tickets are like gold dust unless you’re a season ticket holder.” Lee, who works in home deliveries, was born and brought up in Kendal but has been a Sunderland fan all his life.
His parents became supporters when the North East club won the FA Cup in 1973. He entered the contest on the Tuesday before the final and received the news that he had been successful the next day.
His prize for being Sunderland’s ‘12th man’ was four tickets to the match and a chance to hand the ball over to the ref.
Although their beloved team lost 3-1 to Man City, Lee, his father Bryan and his sons Ethan and Josh, 11, said ‘everything about the day was brilliant’.
Lee said: “The atmosphere was unbelievable – we went down the day before and there were red and white shirts milling about everywhere – Covent Garden, Leicester Square.
“The experience of going to the match itself was just jaw-dropping – having the chance to walk out of the tunnel and onto the pitch and to soak up the atmosphere was brilliant.”