Not every fan, myself included, knew Keith Charlton personally, but, like myself, knew him as someone to say hello to at away matches, and feel something will be missing from the match-day experience following his recent passing at the age of only 45.
Basically, wherever Sunderland went, Keith, the first secretary of the Boldon Branch of SAFCSA, went. If you don’t think you know him, have a look at his photo, and you’ll recognise him instantly. If you’ve been to an away game anywhere, league, cup, or pre-season, you’ll have seen him, perhaps on one of our Irish tours, sporting a yellow away top with Brett Angell’s name on the back, or inside any ground from Dusseldorf to Seoul.
You might remember him matching Micky Gray by dying his hair blond, or you might remember him running around the terraces in Albufeira with the questionable inflatable penis. He just wanted to be involved with his beloved club and was at every opportunity from being a ball-boy at Roker to being a steward at the SoL, helping out at the Supporters’ Association, and taking part in the seat replacement. Most recently he’d been involved as a volunteer at the Fans’ Museum, which gave him a chance to meet more fellow supporters and players, and enjoy being amongst so much SAFC memorabilia, in short, to be more involved with SAFC.
As the Boldon Branch said: “He’ll be in Heaven now getting autographs off Porterfield and Stokoe”, and as his most recent favourite player was Lynden Gooch, let’s leave the last words to him…
“Such sad news. A great man who always welcomed me at the Stadium of Light before every home game to shake my hand and wish me all the best. RIP Keith.”
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