Youngsters were on the ball as they quizzed a trio of South Shields football players as part of a community project.
Midfielder Ursene Mouanda, left-back Blair Adams andmidfielder Daniel Wright were joined by South Shields FC Foundation manager Steve Camm as they faced pupils from Years 5 and 6 at Westoe Crown Primary School.
The visit was more poignant as it was also the school where South Shields fan Jak Fada, who died aged 10, attended.
Each pupil who took part was given a free ticket for Saturday’s league game against Mickleover Sports at Mariners Park, for themselves and a parent.
The visit is part of a drive by the club to cement itself into the heart of the community. Project EFL is a long-term plan to establish the club as a community-based, sustainable Football League-ready club by 2023.
As part of this, the club is aiming to forge partnerships with schools and help to grow its future fanbase.
There were some interesting questions and some you really had to think about.Blair Adams
Adams, 27, from South Shields, said: “There were some interesting questions and some you really had to think about.
“We covered all areas, from what we’d want to do if we weren’t footballers to the best teams we’ve played against. It’s always good to go into places like that and for the children to be able to speak with us.”
Ten children from the school have been selected to walk onto the pitch with the players. Of those five will be chosen to take part in a literacy project in conjunction with The Word based on their matchday experience.
Wright, 20, also from South Shields, said: “We came along to hand out tickets and talk to the pupils. Hopefully it will boost our crowds on Saturdays.
“There were some funny questions which got you thinking and we all really enjoyed it.
“It’s important we get more and more younger fans at the games, because it will build our crowds massively.”
Mouanda, 20, from Gateshead, added: “A lot of the kids were quite sharp and funny, and there were some very good questions.
“I’ve not been in a primary school since I left, so it was good to go back to one and it brought back a lot of memories.
“It’s really important we put on a good performance on Saturday so the children have a good experience and want to come back week after week.”
As part of the visit, the players handed the school a signed shirt for them to use as they wish, either to put in a frame or auction off for school funds.