Having been with Sunderland’s Academy since the age of 10, yesterday’s victory at the National Stadium was especially sweet for Lynden Gooch, and how fitting for him to score the goal that sealed a first Wembley win in 48 years for the club.
Gooch was in the stands for the Black Cats’ 2014 League Cup Final loss to Manchester City. He also played in the 2019 EFL Trophy Final defeat to Portsmouth, as well as being involved in the Play-Off Final loss to Charlton Athletic that same season.
But yesterday the midfielder wrote his name into the histroy books, as Sunderland lifted the Papa John's Trophy for the first time in their history.
“It’s amazing,” he said, after the game.
“I’ve been at Sunderland since I was 10 years old so this is a massive day for myself, my family and everyone connected to this club. It’s been a long time since 1973.”
Sunderland had to work hard to see off League Two side Tranmere Rovers, who are pushing for promotion themselves, but Gooch scored the only goal of the game to secure victory for his side and in doing so wrote a new chapter of Sunderland history as they finally won at Wembley after 48 years.
“It was the perfect day,” he continued. “Obviously with fans it would have been so much better, but we’ve waited so long for success and to win here, there’s been a lot of pain in the last few years and this is something that we’ll savour.”
As will the Sunderland fans who were watching on from home, no doubt.
“This win is massive for Sunderland fans, they want this club to be successful and for myself as a fan and a player it’s been tough. There’s been a lot of pain in recent years and you can get emotional about it, but this win will be massive for everyone in the city there’s no doubt about that.
“We’ve felt a lot of pressure coming here and not getting the results, so we’re all over the moon that we’ve finally lifted the curse.”
When asked where the moment ranked in Gooch’s career, the USA international was in no doubt.
“It’s the best moment of my career so far, without a doubt.
“Having come through the academy and to now help bring success to the football club is an amazing feeling and something I’ll never forget.”