A HECKMONDWIKE singer found himself performing to a crowd of 45,000 adoring football fans after his hit song was used for a charity fundraising project.
Penny Arcade writer Sammy King was invited to the Glasgow Rangers ground last Tuesday after the song helped raise cash for the Erskine Hospital, for former servicemen and women.
The song, a hit for Roy Orbison in the 1960s, has been sung in the stands by Rangers fans for years. Sammy recorded a new version and pledged all the proceeds from downloads to the hospital, which costs £21,000 to run every day.
He and wife Linda travelled to the Ibrox stadium where he performed it live with the crowd singing along during half-time.
Sammy was interviewed on the pitch by Sky TV before touring the building and meeting ex players Sandy Jardine, Alex ‘Doddie’ MacDonald and Johnny Hubbard MBE.
He was snapped by the Rangers’ photographer holding special edition CDs which later sold out.
He said afterwards: “Linda and I have just experienced the most incredible 48 hours in our life. We got through on pure adrenaline and have been catching up on sleep since.”
The couple had a meal with Johnny Hubbard at the stadium’s Wee Rangers Club, then met fans.
Sammy said: “The welcoming cheer was unbelievable. The DJ put Penny Arcade on and a mic was thrust into my hand and the whole building rocked.”
He signed dozens of autographs before watching the game from the VIP suite.
He said: “At half time I was taken on to the field to be welcomed by the biggest and loudest cheer I have ever witnessed. The place erupted and joined me singing Penny Arcade.”
The couple partied into the night before visiting the hospital the next day.
He added: “The whole thing was absolutely magic. We were treated like royalty and to have 45,000 fans singing and clapping along with me was like nothing I have ever experienced. But the thing that touched me most was that kids of all ages came for autographs and photos, promising me they will sing the song forever. It has now been officially adopted as their anthem and was even played when they received the championship trophy.
“The hundreds of messages of thanks we received have been overwhelming. Words cannot describe the whole experience. Even before the game the players wore T-shirts with ‘Step up and play’ on them.
“Everyone says the song has been their talisman.”