If Patrick Bauer was looking for omens ahead of his match-winning moment at Wembley on Sunday, it came from an unlikely source on the eve of the game.
Former team-mate Jordan Cousins – a free agent after being released by QPR this summer – called to wish him luck and remind him that he was about to enter the biggest shop window of them all.
Cousins told the South London Press: “I spoke to Patrick the day before the game. Like me, there’s been speculation about his future and whether he’s going to stay at his club. I told him: ‘hey do well in this one tomorrow and it all opens up for you.’ We laughed about that, little realising just how right those words might be. It’s amazing how things turned out.
“I watched the game at home on TV and even after conceding that terrible own goal in the fifth minute, I just knew they were going to do it.
“It always looked like they had a bit more than Sunderland to me. I knew they would come through. I’m so delighted for the club and the fans because they’ve gone through some really tough times in recent years.
“It’s great that they are back in the Championship and great for the area, which I know so well. It’s a club very close to my heart – a club that helped me find a path into the game and helped me so much with my career. I’m very happy for them.
“It’s relentless in that division but they have a great manager in Lee Bowyer, who has done a fantastic job with the resources he’s had.”