By Daniel Prince
Created with flickr slideshow.
Nine-year-old Solomon Dixon led South Shields out in the South Tyneside derby against Hebburn Town on Saturday after being chosen as the club’s mascot.
Solomon, who was born in South Shields but moved to Australia with his family aged just three months, is on a month-long trip to England.
The Dixons visited family in Sunderland before going to stay with relatives in the Midlands on December 19, but Solomon, brother Henry, 11, father Martin and grandfather Ian Edmunds returned to the North East especially for the Shields game.
*In the video above, Solomon and Martin discuss how much they enjoyed the day, while a slideshow of images is also above and available here: Mascot Solomon’s special day at South Shields vs Hebburn Town*
Solomon, who had earlier been presented with a club kit, complete with the name ‘Sol’ and number 10 on the back of the shirt, met all the players before the match and led them out with captain Chris Locke.
He then posed for a picture with the team and staff prior to the game (see main image), and also after the coin toss with Locke, Hebburn skipper Calvin McMahon and the match officials (see image below).
Solomon had earlier been given a team photograph, club pin badge and received the signatures of all the players, while after the game has was handed a football signed by all the team, as well as Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips.
His brother, Henry, was presented with a club hat and scarf, while Martin and Ian were given club and league mugs, as well as matchday programmes.
The family made an eight-hour round trip on the day to be at the game, which was played in bitterly cold conditions.
And Solomon savoured the experience, saying he “enjoyed every minute of it”.
He said: “It was a really great day and I enjoyed every minute of it.
“I got to go into the dressing room before the game, met all the players and talked to them beforehand. It was awesome.
“It was a great experience walking out with them onto the pitch before the game, and I’ll be telling all of my friends in Australia about it all when I get back home.
“I’ll wear the shirt every day and play football in it against my brother Henry.”
The Dixons are set to return home to Ipswich, in Queensland, next month, and will until then stay with Ian and his family, in Bilston, Dudley.
Dad Martin praised the club for their efforts in making the day so enjoyable, and says his youngest son was “over the moon”.
He said: “Solomon is passionate about being from South Shields, and is also a big football fan, so this was great for him.
“We had an absolutely fantastic day, and I’d like to thank the club very much for all the effort they went into.
“The boys really enjoyed it, I enjoyed it, the grandpa enjoyed it and the football was a good standard.
“Solomon was absolutely over the moon and was beaming from head to toe.
“Pride and joy was his strip, and I think it will be like a tattoo – we’ll not be able to get that shirt off him!”
You can see the full reaction of Solomon and Martin by watching the video at the start of the article.