Just before Saturday’s rousing win over Arsenal, I spotted
Pete Sixsmithin his usual 20-minutes-before-kickoff spot in the East Stand concourse, chatting animatedly to another Sunderland fan. That other fan was about to see the last game of his life. Only in his early 50s, he died next day. Pete pays tribute to Dave Lish …
We all agree, I think, that Saturday was as good a game as we have seen at the Stadium for a long time. At half time, on my return from the toilet, I spoke with Dave Lish and we both agreed that we had a good chance of winning this one. As we returned to our seats, we agreed to meet at Sunderland RCA for their game with Shildon on Wednesday night.
Alas, this is not to be, as Dave suddenly and tragically passed away on Sunday. I had known him for a number of years, bumping into him on the non league circuit. As the relationship changed from acquaintance to friend, I always looked for his Corsa (R99 KER), knowing that his presence would always mean an entertaining and enjoyable evening even if the football was dire.
We had shared interests in Sunderland AFC, non-league football and music. Dave had an extensive collection of CD’s and an incredible memory for the tracks contained on them. A mention of, say, 10,000 Maniacs would bring a learned conversation on which album I liked. My response would be “the one with the bows and arrows on the front” and I would get a little smile as he reminded me of the name, the running order and the name of the woman who did Nathalie Merchant’s hair. He used to delight in teasing Willie Fyfie with the names of bands that he and Julia, his adored partner, had seen and which Willie resolutely refused to believe.
Dave was a very kind and generous man. He would collect people and take them to matches, going out of his way to collect them. He supplied me with copies of CD’s, beautifully produced with full colour copies of the artwork. He was offended when I offered to pay, but we reached an agreement which involved a furtive exchange of CDs in return for a selection of Godfrey Card’s sausages.
He had been a regular contributor to the much admired Wise Men Say in the 80’s and always had an interesting angle on SAFC and those connected with it. It would be fair to say that all things black and white were not to his taste, but he had friends who were as firm Newcastle fans as he was a Sunderland fan.
His love for Sunderland was second only to his love for Julia. I know he was immensely proud of Julia’s daughter, Eleanor, when she achieved an excellent set of A level results. He rang at 9am to tell me and was as excited as the average 18 year old is on A Level results day.
I would imagine that as he walked back to his car after the Arsenal game, there would be a huge smile across his face as he thought of Cana, Da Silva and the rest. When I think of Dave in the future, there will be a smile on my face as I remember the enjoyable times I spent with him. Many others will be doing the same.