IT may be the most famous streak – OK, the most famous fully clothed streak – in football history.

It was Apri1 14, 2013, A Premier League relegation battle between Newcastle United and Sunderland and just Paulo di Canio’s second game in charge of the visitors.

Sunderland won 3-0, goals from Sessègnon, Johnson and Vaughan, di Canio marking the first with a spectacular slide – more a slalom – down the muddy touchline. Now the suit trousers which he wore are preserved, clarts and all, as a museum piece.

“We didn’t want to wash them, it would take away their value completely,” says one of the lads at the Sunderland Fans’ Museum.

Michael Ganley’s dream, about which we wrote last April – “I’m either an enthusiast or I’m barmy” he said – is taking shape in the Grade II-listed former Monkwearmouth railway station, though a formal opening date has been delayed.

Already they’re open on match days and have had several “pop up” exhibitions, the latest last week in the Prince Bishops shopping centre in Durham.

We went after the Age UK men’s breakfast with Paul Hodgson, Sunderland fan and Spennymoor Boxing Academy stalwart. “I’m like a bairn in a sweet shop,” said Hodge.

The trousers on the mannequin are di Canio’s, the blazer – rather cleaner – was Mick McCarthy’s. Goodness only knows who owned the cap.

There was the ball which hit the beach ball, a singularly small seat from the Clock Stand – No 73, of course – the trophy they gave to 1973 Cup final ref Ken Burns, if not the Cup itself.

There were also a lot of shirts, though none that would fit Hodgy. Back at Monkwearmouth they had one of Titus Bramble’s, they said, and that might just do the trick.

Titus whatever, it must be an awfully big shirt.

  • The win at St James’ Park helped Sunderland finish just above the relegation positions, the Magpies one place ahead of them. Wigan, Reading and QPR went down. Paolo di Canio was sacked that September after just 13 games in charge – and that mud lark one of just two wins.

LAST week’s column had spotted a report in the Teesdale Mercury of the debut for Barnard Castle rugby club’s second team of a gentleman named Matt Mackem. Could it possibly be his real name? Sadly it’s not, it’s Matthew Morrison and, though he’s an ardent Sunderland fan, it was a rugby joke after all.

DARLINGTON’S programme against Brackley last Wednesday recorded the death at 76 of 60s centre forward Jimmy Lawton, whose goals in nine successive games remains a club record. Marco Gabbiadini managed eight.

Boro boy, Jim scored 71 in 155 appearances over two spells, never more prolific than in 1964-65 when he hit 27 in all competitions. Though 17th in the fourth division, Quakers still scored five on four occasions.

Jim’s finest hour that season, however, may have been the two he scored in a 4-1 FA Cup second round replay win over Hartlepool, the old enemy, before a 14,466 Feethams crowd. Jim Maltby hit the others.

It brought Quakers a home draws against Arsenal, 19,717 squeezed through the turnstiles. They lost 2-0.

THE evening after all that carry-on about VAR at Manchester City’s Champions League match last week, Neil Swarbrick spoke – informatively, engagingly – at Bishop Auckland Refs’ Society.

They whet whistles in a pub. In the next room, occasionally overheard, there was bingo and a quiz. “In the rhyme, what did Solomon Grundy do on Tuesday?”

Goodness knows. Marry the lass?

Neil, former Premier League referee and current Friday night dominoes king, is the Professional Game Match Officials’ lead man on VAR, in operation at every Premier League game next season.

Already there’ve been numerous tests and trials, including FA Cup matches. At one of them, referee Martin Atkinson was told by the video assistant that he should send off a Grimsby Town player after just two minutes.

“VAR says it’s a red card, I can’t do nowt about it,” he tells the miscreant, his decision overturned and his grammar a bit questionable, too.

Near and VAR, the video assistant ref will be joined at studios near Heathrow Airport by an assistant VAR, a recording officer, sometimes an assistant RO and sundry pairs of hawk eyes.

The aim, said Neil, was minimum interference with maximum benefit – not differences of interpretation but “clear and obvious mistakes.”

“It’s massive, changes the whole nature of refereeing, no doubt about it,” he said.

Bishop Refs’ Society president Terry Farley thought it a “fascinating” evening, a view clearly shared by his colleagues. Whether it’ll eventually keep on electronic eye on the Wear Valley Sunday League second division remains, of course, to be seen.

THOUGH journeys were complicated by the non-appearance of the supporters’ bus, Shildon fans were a little surprised at Hartlepool United on Tuesday to see a notice above the turnstile thanking them for travelling 281 miles to the Vic.

“I told them we should have by Sedgefield,” said one. Those better orientated supposed it to have been a reference to last Saturday’s game with Bromley. Hartlepool 0 Shildon 2.

….and finally, last week’s column sought the identity of the member of England’s 22-man World Cup winning squad in 1966 who won fewest caps. It was Gerry Byrne, with two.

The last man internationally standing was Ian Callaghan, who won the last of his four caps under Ron Greenwood 11 years later, in 1977.

By holding out against Liverpool last Sunday, Manchester United keeper David de Gea became only the seventh in Premier League history to record 100 clean sheets.

Readers are invited to name the other six. We’re back between the sticks again next week.