26th of July 2000
KV Mechelen - Sunderland
score: 2-2 (2 goals Niall Quinn)
For the first time we got a chance to see the Lads in action outside of England. And for this years pre-season they'd decided to get over to....Belgium and Holland. What a special treat for us. The first date was a midweek date. But no problem, as I was having summer holiday. So was Drew, so we both got in the car and drove off to Belgium for a one-day trip. We arrived in Mechelen and drove to the KV Mechelen stadium. But everything seemed very quiet. We got out off the car and walked to the ground. There was a nice man who informed us that the game wasn't played in the Stadium, but in a small village called Kampenhout, just a couple of miles down the road.
So back in the car again. This had to be a non-league ground. And it was. We arrived early and moments after we arrived the official Sunderland bus arrived. All the staff and players walked just past us, we were very close to our heroes. They all had to carry (just like the non-league players) their bags, balls and other training stuff. This match was arranged because of the Tom Peeters transfer. He was bought from KV Mechelen, and in the deal was also a friendly included.
The game was a typical midweek-summer-evening friendly. Nice sunny and not too much effort. Both teams scored twice and for Sunderland it was twice Niall Quinn. The match ended 2-2 and after the game there was time enough to have some photo's taken. First of all Tom Peeters came to the away supporters. There were also some of his Belgium friends situated so he had a chat with them. Drew and Nick asked if they could have their photo taken with him. No problem and Mark (who's originally from the North East of England but based in Germany) wanted to take the photo. He focused on us, turned the other side around and took the photo. This made us laugh and he turned back and took the photo. Because of that it ended up in being a great photo.
After that we walked to the clubhouse and we also got passed Mickey Gray and Peter Reid who we also took some photo's with. We didn't stay that long and left just after the bus had left. A long ride back to Hillegom again, but it was a great day for us.
(written by Nick)