A Newcastle United fan made sure he will never forget the night Alan Shearer visited South Shields FC.
Kris Leighton, from South Shields, was at Mariners Park on Thursday as Newcastle’s record goalscorer officially opened the new facilities there.
He asked the former England captain to sign his leg in permanent marker– alongside a tattoo of Shearer had done almost a decade ago of the striker performing his famous raised arm goal celebration.
Yesterday, he took his signed leg to a tattoo artist, and ensured he got a permanent reminder of the 45-year-old’s night on South Tyneside.
Mr Leighton, 31, said: “I’be been hoping to meet him. Even so, I was absolutely terrified to approach him and ask him to sign my leg.
“I was talking to Janet Davies, who is one of the caterers on matchdays at Mariners Park, and her mam suggested it. She grabbed Alan. I was too much in awe to ask him.
“Once I got over that, I realised he was just a normal bloke.
“He was brilliant with everyone and didn’t knock anyone back for a picture or autograph.
“There were so many people who wanted something, he must have got sick of it at some point, but he never showed it. I didn’t think he could go up any higher in my estimation, but he certainly did.
“He signed my leg no problem, and the tattoo only took 10 minutes to do, so it wasn’t too painful. I’m very proud of it.”
I was hoping to bump into him like that, but I was still absolutely terrified to approach him and ask him to sign my legKris Leighton
Mr Leighton, a Newcastle season ticket holder, runs supporters’ coaches to Magpies away games from the Lord Ashley Pub, on Stanhope Road.
However, he also has a love for his hometown club, and has been delighted with the Mariners’ progress so far this season.
He was also impressed with the official opening of Mariners Park, which was attended by Newcastle and Wales left-back Paul Dummett, as well as Shearer.
Mr Leighton added: “I really liked how informal it was, because I’ve been to some sportsman’s dinners with Alan in the past where he has been on the stage, and there hasn’t been much of a chance to speak to him.
“At this event, though, being able to have a drink with him was amazing. I spoke to him and Paul Dummett, and they were both great.
“The Shields chairman, Geoff Thompson, was also excellent with everyone and took the time to go round thanking people for going along, which he didn’t have to do.
“It was a great night all-round, and I think it’s brilliant what is going on at South Shields.
“I’ve been to watch them home and away this season, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.
“My group of mates is quite mixed between Newcastle and Sunderland supporters, and this is the only real time we’re able to watch a match together and be on the same side.”