ONE of the most famous names in North-East football has given his backing to the region’s latest singing sensation.

Both Tony Mowbray, manager of Middlesbrough FC, and James Arthur, X Factor finalist, are from east Cleveland and the football man said the singer’s success was “great for the area.”

He also revealed that James, a big Boro fan, has been exchanging tweets with some of the players.

Mr Mowbray said: “I watch it whenever I can. We had Amelia Lily last year and it's great that's been carried on this year by James Arthur. I think we should just all be proud of someone from Teesside trying to achieve something.

“He's showing his talent and his quality. I think from very early on he had a rawness about the way he sings that's a bit different from what you normally get. I think there's a potential niche there for him to bring that to the market place.”

James’ sister Sian, 25, described how she felt when her 24-year-old brother came home to perform at a packed Middlesbrough Town on Tuesday night.

She said: “It was the most surreal moment ever. I can’t describe to you how proud and emotional I felt when I saw how many people had turned up to support and cheer for my brother.

“The best moment of my life was seeing James get out of the car and walk down the red carpet in Centre Square, Middlesbrough.

"There were hundreds of people screaming and shouting his name. I’ve never been happier than I was then to see that smile on his face. The X Factor has really turned his whole life around, upside down and stuck it in a blender.

“The family are on such a high at the moment, just to see the confidence build in him and to hear him talking about his experiences over the past few weeks is amazing.

“James is taking it all in his stride now and is gearing up for the weekend, rehearsing for this week’s final. He definitely thinks he can win this now.

“I’m so excited for this weekend, all of his close family will be there watching with anticipation, and fingers crossed we will all be diving on him once he is declared X Factor winner 2012!”

The X Factor will be shown on ITV at 8pm on Saturday night and the results show will be on 7.40pm on Sunday.