Richy Dugggan, project manager at the Hendon Young People’s Project in Sunderland, is among the lucky supporters out on the Algarve for the warm-up trip. Tonight Sunderland play the first of two games, against Recreativo de Huelva, and Richy will be there to pass on his thoughts to us.
You may recognise the name from recent Salut! Sunderland reporting: Richy’s admirable project is the beneficiary of the generosity of Raich Carter junior, son of the Hendon-born Sunderland (and later Hull City) legend.
Raich, a Hull fan with a soft spot for us, wanted to donate his first prize in last season’s Who are You? awards – $200 worth of gear from the American sports suppliers soccerpro.com – to young people involved in football in Hendon. A ward councillor, Michael Mordey, introduced Richy and Salut! Sunderland to each other and we had our marriage made in heaven.
Richy chose a pair of goals – the KwikGoal Infinity Squared Popup Goal 4 Foot to be precise – but it turned out these would cost more to ship from the USA than they were worth.
His second choice, five World Cup replica balls – see them at http://www.soccerpro.com/adidas-Brazuca-World-Cup-Top-Replique-Soccer-Ball-p15223/ – was perfect since they can be sent deflated.
The footballs, I am glad to report, are on their way. They will reach Monsieur Salut in France before being forwarded to Sunderland or hand-delivered when he is back in the UK and up for a match.
Here, then, is the first of Richy’s postcards from Portugal (note that, as with Gus Poyet, we’re on first name terms) …:
Well the day is here for Sunderland’s first match in the Algarve ( as with Gus Poyet, we’re on first name terms) …
We collected our tickets at the ground yesterday. The pitch looks in great condition really green which I was a little surprised about considering the ground around it is burned down and golden brown.
Met up with a few Sunderland lads in the stadium bar. The talk was about up-coming transfers, and seeing how the new lads in the team would settled in.
Fingers crossed the senior team start to get their act together as the kids have pulled us out of the cheap in the last couple of games.
We are off to the beach this morning for a spot of RnR then getting ready for a busy night. A few beers, a singsong or two and then watching the Lads.
It’s a hard life but someone’s got to lead it. It’s a canny life.
All the best,
Richy Duggan describes himself at Twitter as a charity fundraiser, boxer, local footballer, football coach, MMA and boxing coach, former sports model, current student and full time charity worker. Model? Where are the pix?