Published on Monday, November 16, 2020

Minute's silence held at Sunderland football club

A minute's silence was held on Saturday at Sunderland football club ahead of its match against MK Dons in memory of former Vice-Chairman John Hays and local photographer Dean Matthews, who died on Thursday.

While there were no supporters in the stadium, players, staff and all those in attendance fell silent in honour of Hays and Matthews.

Sunderland AFC tweeted: "We are incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of former Vice-Chairman John Hays. John was a Champion of the North East and the City of Sunderland. Our thoughts are with his wife Irene, his family and his friends at this time. Rest in peace, John."

Niall Quinn, former Sunderland AFC Chairman paid tribute to Hays.

Quinn told the ChronicleLive: "He was there alongside me every day, for no other reason than because he loved the club, and he was a huge guiding influence on a young chairman who thought he knew everything.

"John was the only Sunderland-born member of Drumaville, he influenced the way the other consortium members thought about the club, and he knew the background of the club going back decades.

"John and his wife Irene did so much for the city of Sunderland and they were lovely people to know.

"It's a colossal shock to hear of John's passing, and my thoughts are with Irene and their family."

Hays was a member of the Drumaville consortium, led by former Sunderland striker Quinn, which bought the club from Sir Bob Murray in 2006.

Quinn became chairman of the club following the takeover, with John Hays acting as vice-chairman for two years before the club was bought by Ellis Short.

By Louise Longman, Contributing Editor, (UK)

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