The heart-melting story of how football fans in South Shields bar helped 87-year-old get spot for Wembley which shows Sunderland has 'the best supporters in the world'
The touching story of how kind-hearted Sunderland supporters in a South Shields bar helped an elderly fan get to Wembley has gone viral.
At 87-years-old, Alf Robson was five years old when Sunderland won the FA Cup at Wembley in 1937, and he's seen his beloved team play in cup finals since.
The life-long fan was left struggling with technology when trying to book his ticket to see Sunderland take on Portsmouth at the Checkatrade Trophy final, however, and feared he would miss out.
But Alf was overjoyed when kindhearted fellow fans he met in the the Hedworth Hall in Dean Road, South Shields, stepped in, booking his ticket and paying for it out of their own pockets - despite never having met him until that moment.
"It was absolutely wonderful. I'll never forget that. Just marvelous. A lovely gesture from the Sunderland supporters," he said.
"I said we haven't got the best players in the world, but I think we've got the best supporters in the world."
He added: "It's wonderful, since I'm 87 I'm not likely to see another Wembley final."
The story of magical generosity came to light after Alf dialled in to Total Sport on BBC Newcastle and told his tale to host Simon Pryde, where he sent a big thank you to those who showed him such kindness.
Pryde said on a subsequent episode said: "It's a story a lot of people have reacted to through the day, he's had various offers. A lot of other people have offered him tickets as well in case he wants to take friends. Somebody offered to take him down to Wembley in a Mercedes."
The show also discussed how some fans who were more technically savvy than Alf had also had problems registering for tickets.
How Alf told the story live on air
"I'm 87-year-old this year and I wanted to get a ticket for to go to Wembley. I'm a season card holder for Sunderland, and you have to register online and all this carry on. It's a bit beyond me.
"I was sitting in the pub on Saturday afternoon, there was a party of Sunderland supporters there, and one of them walks past. I said 'excuse me, are you going to Wembley? He says 'oh aye'.
"I says well I don't know how to go about getting a ticket. He said 'have you got your season card with you? I says aye.
"Then he says 'just a minute, I'll see what I can do for you'. So he took my card away, then another lad comes over with the card and a mobile telephone, and says 'you're registered with Ticketmaster, you'll get your ticket in the post.
I says 'champion, how do I pay for this?' He says 'nah, nah, your ticket will come' I said 'Aye, very good of you, thanks very much, but I don't know how to pay.
"He said 'we paid for it. You're an 80-odd-year-old going to Wembley by yourself. We're all Sunderland supporters and we're just happy to help you'
Alf said his new-found friends had even offered to help him get there if he was stuck for transport.
"They said all you need to do is book your seat on the bus or whatever, but if you have any problems, and he writes his telephone number down, phone us and we'll help you. But I've managed to get a seat on the bus."
Do you know Alf or the fans who helped him? Give us a call on 0191 501 7446 or email copydesk.northeast@JPIMedia.co.uk