Newcastle United soccer legend Peter Beardsley has teamed up with Widnes skipper Kevin Brown to help launch the Vikings’ shirt for Magic Weekend 2016.
Representatives from a number of North East community rugby league clubs also took part in the launch, with the Vikings once again backing the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation cancer charity.
Last year the Vikings raised £20,000 for the cancer charity by donating profits from sales of their 2015 Magic Weekend shirts.
This year every £10 donation to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation made through the Vikings’ ‘Tackling Cancer…I’m on it!” campaign will be rewarded with the donors’ name printed into the fabric of their 2016 special edition Magic Weekend shirt.
“What the Vikings did last year was incredible and would have made Sir Bobby very proud,” said Beardsley.
“The Vikings’ fans were brilliant at St James’ Park and the gesture that they made by supporting the initiative and raising so much money was phenomenal.
“I got a great deal of satisfaction from working with Widnes last year, it was a brilliant initiative.
“I took part in one of the community sessions at Walker Technology College with the Vikings’ coaches and players and it was brilliant.
“The attitude of the guys who took the session was something I’ve never really seen before. To see the coaches working and the players mixing with the kids was unbelievable.
“Without a doubt, last year’s Magic Weekend generated a massive appetite for rugby league in the North East.
“Everybody I spoke to who went said the atmosphere was amazing and different to anything they had experienced before. I can honestly say I didn’t speak to anybody who didn’t have a great time.
“You look at the colours in the crowd, ‘mixing in’ as we call it, and it was incredible how people just got on and had a beer together, it didn’t matter who they supported they just joined in.
“I don’t know who came up with the name ‘Magic Weekend’ but everybody I’ve spoken to said it lived up to its name and I think the work that the Vikings did last year certainly helped generate a lot of local interest.
“We love our sport in the North East and I think that was shown with the attendance last year. I honestly think that this year the crowds will be even better.”
The jersey will once again carry the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation logo in place of its primary sponsor and the team will run out at St James’ Park wearing the shirts in May.
A further donation will be made to the charity from the shirt sales, too.
Beardsley will also be reprising his role as a Magic Weekend Ambassador for the Vikings, and he is enthusiastic about the special jerseys.
“What an incredible thing to be a part of – I don’t know how the Vikings are going to fit all those names on to be honest but it’s a class idea.
“I would like to thank everybody who donates and I think anybody who gets a place on that shirt should feel really proud to support such a great cause.”