A FOOTBALL-MAD youngster who is a South Tyneside expatriate is set to have a day to remember on Saturday.
Nine-year-old Solomon Dixon, who was born in South Shields, emigrated to Australia with his family at the age of three months.
This month, he returned with dad Martin, mum Louise, brother Henry, 11, and sister Ruby, seven, for just the third time, as part of a month-long holiday in England.
On December 19, they went to stay with family in the Midlands, but Solomon, Henry and Martin will travel north again to watch South Shields’ Northern League fixture with Hebburn Town.
The club have made the youngster their mascot for Saturday’s game, and have also presented him with a club strip – with the name “Sol” and number 10 on the back of the shirt, complete with shorts and socks – as well as a team photograph, pin badge and signatures from all the players.
Dad Martin said: “Solomon is passionate about being from South Shields, and enjoys learning about his roots so he can tell his friends all about them.
“He is at that age now when he wants to learn more and more about where he comes from, and we as parents encourage him to keep his English roots.
“He loves football, and has been learning about South Shields FC, so he is very excited that he is going to be the mascot for the game on Saturday.”
The Dixons live in Ipswich, Queensland, but have family based in Sunderland and the Midlands.
Solomon’s grandfather, Ian Edmunds, who lives in Bilston, near Dudley, will travel up to Shields’ ground at Peterlee for the game with the family.
It is an occasion they are all looking forward to. Martin added: “We are very grateful for all the club has done, and it’s going to be a boys’ day out.
“We will be spending about eight hours of the day in the car, but that’s nothing compared to some of the journeys we have in Australia.
“Solomon is particularly excited about receiving the club strip, and he says he is going to be wearing it a lot when he gets back home.
“People will probably presume it is an Aston Villa or West Ham kit because of the colours, so it will certainly be something that sets him apart, and I’m sure all his friends in Australia will be asking questions about who South Shields are.”
South Shields supporter Bob Scott, who has arranged much of the day for the Dixon family, said: “I received a message from Solomon’s grandfather, in the Midlands, explaining that he wanted to find out more about the club and perhaps attend a game.
“It touched a chord with me, and I wanted to see what more we could do.
“It has been a pleasure to help arrange for him to be mascot for the game, and to present him with things like the strip that he will be able to keep forever.”