John Marshall was so impressed with the warm reception he received before and after Sunderland's dismal 6-2 loss that he penned an emotional thank you letter
A slightly soppy Sunderland fan was so impressed with Everton's fans and stadium after travelling to Merseyside to watch his beloved Black Cats slump to a humiliating 6-2 defeat, that he penned an emotional tribute letter to supporters of the Toffees.
However, his hilarious letter will no doubt leave some Everton fans feeling that he is somewhat damning their club with faint praise, after he makes reference to “boarded up shops...like Thatcher resigned last week”, and pubs that “look like urinals from the outside”.
“As visiting Sunderland fans we know something about the lack of investment in our former centres of industry,” 59-year-old John Marshall admits in his letter, which was published in the Liverpool Echo.
“But little can prepare you for the approach to Goodison Park with boarded up shops and run down pubs on every corner. It feels like Thatcher resigned last week.”
However, Mr Marshall's criticism of his away day stops with his occasionally glum surroundings, as he got on fantastically with everybody he then met.
“The staff made us feel like old friends and, pretty soon, even though we were wearing Sunderland tops, a guy bought us two pints and left before we could return the compliment. He had North East work mates and family.
““We chatted with a few locals and shook hands, then a young man with his son offered us drinks. We politely declined but he bought them anyway. I did at least manage return that favour.
“Rarely in my life have I encountered such kindness and from an apparent foe. We didn’t want to leave."
But the pre-match cordiality didn't end at the pub, as the Sunderland supporter was pleased to discover upon getting slightly lost upon leaving Goodison Park at the end of the match.
“After the game we got hopelessly lost looking for our lift and a complete stranger put us in his car and drove us to the car park,” he recounted.
Despite the utterly disastrous performance of Sam Allardyce's men- who were thrashed by Everton (courtesy of an Arouna Kone hat-trick) despite finding themselves level at 2-2 with more than 60 minutes on the clock- Mr Marshall greatly enjoyed his day and made a solemn promise that Sunderland fans would be as equally receptive as his new Everton friends.
“I am certain the great people of Sunderland will repay this generosity of spirit, when next we host Everton or other visiting fans,” he added.