Sunderland players launch new Stadium of Light fan fest event at school

SAFC players Billy Jones and Adam Matthews (R) visit Marsden Primary School to launch the Fan Fest fun day.
SAFC players Billy Jones and Adam Matthews (R) visit Marsden Primary School to launch the Fan Fest fun day.

Sunderland AFC stars were grilled on their football careers by school pupils - as a new special fan event was launched.

Black Cats defenders Billy Jones and Adam Matthews were at Marsden Primary School, in Whitburn, as they spoke about their time playing in the professional game.

Questions put to them by youngsters included who is the best player you’ve played against, what would you be if you weren’t a footballer and who is the biggest miss in the Sunderland dressing room.

Adam, a Welsh international and former Celtic player, said: “Today’s gone really well and it’s nice to put a smile on the kids’ faces.

“It hasn’t been going that well on the pitch but we’ve given something back off the pitch and hopefully we’ll do better.

“I got a couple of tough questions but I suppose I’ve had worse so it wasn’t too bad.”

The Fan Fest will take place in half term week, on Monday October 23, from 10am to 3pm and will include an open training session by Simon Grayson’s first team squad at the Stadium of Light.

There will also be free activities in and around the stadium on the day with organisations including Adidas, Utilita, Everyone Active, Mercedes-Benz and the Foundation of Light involved.

Representatives from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and North Tyneside Mountain Rescue will also be in attendance.

Billy Jones said “I think Fan Fest is a great idea and I’m looking forward to training in the stadium with the fans watching.

“Support from the fans is so important to us, so I’m glad we are able to open to doors to a training session.”

Sunderland AFC chief executive, Martin Bain said: “Fan Fest is a great opportunity for our supporters to watch the first team being put through their paces.

“But it is also a chance for the community in Sunderland to come together, this half term, to create a great day out for fans of all ages.

“We held an open training session earlier this year and over 7,000 people came along to watch the team.

“Fan Fest is set to be bigger and better this time round, with a whole host of activities for families to enjoy.

“We’ve received amazing support and participation from sponsors and local organisations, and I have no doubt that Fan Fest is going to be a brilliant day out for all the family.”

Fans are being asked to register their interest at www.safc.com/fanfest.