OLD rivalries were laid to rest yesterday as a Northumberland band launched their new charity single in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
The Longsands have recorded their own version of Geordie anthem the Blaydon Races with all proceeds going directly to the charity, which operates a specialist cancer unit at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
The five-piece indie rock band, from Cramlington, have tied in the release of the song to coincide with the Newcastle-Sunderland derby match this weekend and they will be taking to the pitch before the game on Sunday to perform the terraces favourite.
And they’re hoping the thousands of fans will put the long-standing rivalry on hold to join forces and support a local charity by downloading the single.
Guitarist Ian Barnes said: “It’s always been in our minds to release the Blaydon Races as a charity single, but it was a case of which charity.
“We thought the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation was great and we went down to the Freeman Hospital and had a look round the ward. We knew straight away that it was the charity we wanted to support.”
He added: “A Sunderland fan probably isn’t going to download the Blaydon Races, but even if they just spread the word to their Geordie friends that would be good.
“Some things are more important than rivalry.
“I think it’s the case that Sir Bobby Robson was an iconic figure, but not just for Newcastle. There’s going to be just as many Sunderland fans affected by cancer as Newcastle fans.”
A die-hard Longsands fan, who is a Sunderland supporter, braved the horde of Geordie fans yesterday to support the launch of their single at Grey’s Monument in Newcastle.
Phil Robertson, 34, from Washington, said: “It’s just trying to get the angle across that the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation is more important than getting caught up in the flare of the derby.”
And that’s a sentiment that Lady Robson, Sir Bobby’s widow, echoed.
She said: “Football rivalries are quickly forgotten when faced with the devastating impact of cancer. The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation helps cancer patients from across the North East and Cumbria and we have tremendous support from fundraisers on Wearside.
“It makes me proud knowing that while fans may disagree completely about football, they are all part of the same team raising funds to help fight this terrible disease.”
The Longsands’ Blaydon Races is available at www.thelongsands.co.uk from Sunday and is available for pre-order now.
The download will include two versions of the Blaydon Races and also feature a track called Bully from the band’s debut album Meet Me In Spanish City.