Jonathan Wilson: the candystripe passions of grandfather, father and son


Jonathan Wilson''s book on a Sunderland great

NB: A tweet by the author, coinciding with World Alzheimer’s Month, has brought this poignant and outstandingly written article a deserved new burst of interest, causing Salut! Sunderland to promote it back to the front page of the site nearly a year after it first appeared. It will stay prominently displayed for the rest of September …

I am proud to say that permission has been received for the reproduction of this quite exceptional and moving account by Jonathan Wilson*, the Sunderland-supporting Guardian sportswriter, of memories of his dad, and an exchange as death approached, that summed up the passion handed down through generations …

Last year, after my dad had died, I stayed holding his hand for about quarter of an hour and then left the nurses to it. In the hospital waiting room I made three calls. The first was to Sunderland Civic Centre to register the death. The second was to the undertakers. And the third was to The Independent to tell them that I was, after all, free to cover Sunderland v Burnley the next day.

I know a lot of people found that odd. To be honest, looking back, it seems odd to me. At the time, though, it seemed perfectly natural.

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