Son of South Shields footballer who died in clifftop tragedy follows in dad's sporting footsteps
The playing style is strikingly familiar - as is the number on the back of his shirt.
And Oliver Carson will be wearing his new team’s strip with pride when he takes to the pitch, this season, after it was sponsored by the support group who helped him after his dad died.
Little Olly was only four years old when he was told of his dad Karl Carson’s sudden death at the age of 26 in a clifftop tragedy.
Karl was a talented footballer who played for Wearside League outfit Boldon CA.
But seeing Oliver follow in his footsteps was something his family never thought they would see after became withdrawn after losing his dad.
For the past three years, the youngster has been attending sessions run by Cruse Crew - a support group for bereaved families - which has seen his confidence grow.
Last year, the eight-year-old asked if could go to football and eventually joined Boldon Colts where he has settled.
This season, he and his team mates have been sponsored by The Cruse Crew, with Oliver being handed a number seven shirt - the same number his dad Karl wore when he played.
Karl died suddenly after falling from cliffs at Marsden in July 2014.
His mam Laura Nisbet, from South Shields, said: “After his dad died, he wouldn’t talk to anyone, he wouldn’t interact with anyone.
“When we first came along to Cruse Crew, we were helping to raise money for another charity, then when the drop-in sessions started a year later, we’d come along but he was so timid, and I did worry he wasn’t going to make any friends - but those friends he has made in Cruse have now become his family.
“He is a completely different kid now to how he was back then, it is hard to believe he is the same child. He is so full of confidence. I honestly, never imagined he would be like he is today - I was that worried.
“It was just one night at one of the sessions. He was with friends and they were on the stage singing and dancing, then the next thing we all knew, Oliver was up there with them.
“I got my phone out and we videoed him as we all thought it would be the first and last time we would see him doing anything like that.
“But that night was just the start of a whole new beginning for Olly.
“I’ve never forced him into football. Soon after that night he asked if he could go to football, then he asked if could play at Boldon.
“The football is also really helping him and his team mates at Boldon Colts have also become like family to him.
“He just lives for Cruse and for football - they both mean that much to him.”
The team were presented with their new strips during a presentation night last week.
Laura added: “He knew the group had agreed to sponsor his teams strips and he has been so excited to wear his top.
“He just kept telling his team mates his charity was sponsoring the tops and it was his dad’s charity - he’s just so proud of the group and so proud of the team he plays for.
“He goes to Cruse for his dad, so now everytime he puts his shirt on and goes onto the pitch, he’ll be doing it for his dad.
“They used to call Karl ‘The Bull’ in football as he wasn’t frightened of no one and he used to do quite meaty tackles.
“Oliver is just the same. He just goes for the ball. He is just amazing. It’s something none of us thought we would see happening. I’m just one proud mammy.”
Coach Martin Clark said: “Having a team like this, it’s vital for us to receive support from people and from the community.
“It is such a massive gesture by the Cruse Crew, and I know how much it means to Olly to wear the shirt from the group that has supported him since his dad died.
“When I’m told what Olly used to be like, it really is hard to believe as he’s so full of confidence both on and off the pitch - and over the months he has been with us he has improved massively.
“We have given him the number 7 shirt after finding out it was his dad’s number. We just can’t thank the group enough and as they go forward, as a club, we will continue to support them where we can.”
The club, which now plays seven-a-side football in the Russell Foster League, is currently on the look out for new players after two of their players have since been signed by Newcastle Academy.
Martin added: “We are looking for new players to join our team as we have had two snapped up by Newcastle Academy, which is excellent for them and also for us, as it shows the level we are playing and coaching at.”
Existing players looking for a new club, or a move into the Saturday League, must be going into Year Four of school in September.
The club trains on a Thursday from 5.45pm until 7.30pm on the playing fields of the former Boldon Church of England school in West Boldon.
For information visit the club’s Facebook page Boldon Colts Under 9s