It is not every day that a former England international signs for a Sunday morning football team.
But former Sunderland manager Peter Reid signed for FC Easington in the Peterlee and District Sunday League in a move that left players and supporters stunned.
The 56-year-old, who won 13 caps in three years for England and even played at the 1986 World Cup, was in the region after watching Sunderland’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal and then turned up in the Lowhills Road, Peterlee, changing rooms to pull on a kit yesterday.
Reid, who won the FA Cup with Everton in 1984, “raised spirits” of the players and officials involved in the game and Easington manager and secretary Martin Dunn knows what it means for the league.
Martin, 22, who lives in Easington Village, said: “It is unbelievable to have a former England player coming to the Peterlee and Sunday League.
“He was really down to earth and was great with everyone in the changing rooms.
“It raised everyone’s spirits and it was brilliant that he was getting photographs and made an effort to get involved with the lads.
“He said he is often at the Stadium of Light and if we are short to give him a ring.
“He has promised to come and do the presentation at the end of the season.”
After watching Sunderland’s game at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, Reid went to The Bell Hotel, Horden, with his personal assistant and friends of her family.
FC Easington player, Chris Ber, 21, and Daniel Gething, 22, spoke to Reid and joked how he should turn up and play on the Sunday morning.
Reid then promised to come along from Seaham Hall and kept his word, arriving in a taxi.
Chris, who lives in Brier Avenue, Horden, said: “As soon as you spoke to him you could tell he was a genuine bloke.
“It was an honour for him to come along to join in with the lads and I am over the moon he has signed for the team I play for.”
Reid played in England’s 1986 World Cup campaign in Mexico in the famous match where Diego Maradona scored his infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal.
Reid said: “I’m happy to come along and get involved with the lads.
“The craic with the lads before, during and after the game was brilliant – I really enjoyed it.
“I’m just pleased that the side got a good win and three points and I didn’t have to take my nice warm jacket off.”
FC Easington beat Old Shotton Royal George 5-2 and have now signed Reid, who managed Sunderland in the Premier League and finished seventh in consecutive years.