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Charity match to remember the man who brought Shaun Elliott to Sunderland’s attention

A football coach and Sunderland fan who played a leading role in the development of young players will be remembered at a special match to be held in his honour.

David Tulip established the Haydon Bridge U18s team in the 1970s, and helped two of the Northumberland village’s youngsters on their journey into professional football.

Shaun Elliott went on to captain Sunderland, making a total of 358 appearances for The Lads between 1976 and 1986 before moving to Norwich City. George Hope turned out for Newcastle United and scored against Manchester United in a Division One fixture in 1973, before later joining Charlton Athletic.

David, who spoke to Roker Report last November, died on May 1, after a long battle against ill health. Now a charity football match will take place in his memory on Sunday, August 29, at Haydon Bridge, with a 10.30am kick off.

It will raise funds for the Northern Oesophago Gastric Cancer Fund, which is part of the Newcastle Hospitals Charity, 14 years after David underwent lifesaving surgery at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) to remove a cancerous polyp from his food pipe.

The Haydon Bridge United Sunday team will take on a team put together by David’s son and fellow Sunderland fan, Joseph. The Joseph Tulip Golden Select XI will include players from past and present with connections to both David and Joseph.

Last year, David fondly recalled how he wrote to Sunderland about Shaun Elliott back in 1976, and went on to exchange several letters with Chief Scout Charlie Ferguson, who came to the Tyne Valley to watch the youngster play.

“It’s an honour to have the opportunity to do this in my dad’s memory,” said Joseph.

“He always did his best for Haydon Bridge Football Club, both as a player and coach. David was committed to the development of young players and made key contacts at professional clubs who would send scouts out to watch emerging talent.

“David always believed more of his players had the potential to succeed at a higher level. He was proud of them all and hopefully we’ll see at least some of them on the day.”

A long-serving postman and all-round sportsman, David was used to overcoming adversity. After winning his cancer battle in 2007, he battled strokes from 2014 onwards and developed lung cancer in the last year of his life.

Joseph added: “Throughout his life David had a remarkable passion for Sunderland, following in the footsteps of his own father, Johnny Tulip, and travelling many miles, often alongside his friend and fellow Haydon Bridge coach, the late Johnny Heslop, to watch The Lads home and away.

“David even managed to attend both Wembley appearances in 2019, and while deeply saddened to see the club competing in League One, was pleased to see a bit of silverware with the EFL Trophy success just a couple of months before he died.”

The event will be sponsored by post-match venue, Haydonian Community Lounge and Bar, and is supported by Hexham-based Top Signs.

Sunderland fans will be very welcome on the day to what will be an emotional and memorable occasion for the Tulip family. There will be a match programme and collection buckets, and it will be an opportunity to visit Low Hall Park. Any donations to a very worthy cause will also be greatly appreciated.

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