SUNDERLAND fan Gary Pearson saddled up to make sure Bud the police horse got his treat.
Bud was punched by Newcastle fan Barry Rogerson in the aftermath of the Magpies’ 3-0 home drubbing by Sunderland a fortnight ago, in an incident which made headlines nationwide.
A group of Sunderland fans online hit on the idea of sending Bud a gift in the form of ‘Paolo’ mints – named after the man who masterminded the Black Cats’ biggest win at St James’s Park in more than three decades.
But with Bud belonging to the West Yorkshire force, the question was how to get his present to him.
Enter Wearside exile Gary, 45, and kids Molly, 13, and seven-year-old Ben. Originally from Silksworth, he now lives in Wakefield but still makes regular pilgrimages to the Stadium of Light.
“It was the Sunderland fans website Ready to Go who came up with the idea of sending Bud some ‘Paolo’ mints,” said Gary.
“I had heard the horse was from West Yorkshire Police. I only live a couple of miles from the stables and I know a few people who work up there.
“I said I was going to be back up for the Everton game, so I would collect the mints and take them down – I thought it would be a nice thing for the kids to do.”
Ben, in particular, wanted to dress for the occasion.
“Both the kids are Sunderland supporters,” said Gary. “Ben wanted to put his Sunderland shirt on and take his scarf down for the horse.”
The family made a day of it, thanks to the West Yorkshire officers.
“The police were brilliant,” said Gary.
“They made a real fuss of the kids, they took us round the stables and introduced us to Bud.
“The kids loved it.”