FIELD OF DREAMS

Chris Sutton, former Chelsea and Blackburn striker formally opens the  2015 Milk Cup at Coleraine Showgrounds.  Picture by Declan Roughan / Presseye
Chris Sutton, former Chelsea and Blackburn striker formally opens the 2015 Milk Cup at Coleraine Showgrounds. Picture by Declan Roughan / Presseye

Chris Sutton may have won the league in both England in Scotland, but he says he would love to be competing in the Dale Farm Milk Cup this week.

The former Blackburn Rovers and Celtic striker was the guest of honour a t Sunday night’s opening ceremony.

Speaking to the Coleraine Times afterwards he revealed he would relish the opportunity to take part in the tournament after he missed out as a youngster.

“I would love another crack at it now,” said Sutton.

“Any player will tell you we can’t feel sorry for ourselves, but you miss the adrenalin rush of it all.

“Going into a tournament like this you would have the nervous energy, you’re going into the unknown. It’s great to play against other teams, especially for the Northern Irish teams to play against clubs from all over the world.

“That’s how you mature as a player, some guys mature quicker than others. But tournaments like this are just a great experience.

“It’s a massive opportunity for them all, some will go on to have careers in the game, but some won’t, it’s a lovely age to be though and be involved in the game.

“Us old has-beens can all remember those years.

“I wasn’t actually good enough to play in the Milk Cup. Norwich had brought teams over but I was released by the club at 12 and the likes of Craig Bellamy came over here and won it.

“As I say I unfortunately missed out on it, but you can’t have it all ways.

“All I would say to them is first and foremost is to come and enjoy the experience. You never know what can come out of tournaments like this.

“When you look at the list of famous players who have played here down the years you realise that it can lead to anything.

“There’s going to be an abundance of scouts watching games during the week and what an opportunity it’s going to be for everyone.”

Meanwhile, Milk Cup Chairman Victor Leonard has responded to criticism after Sunday night’s opening parade was cancelled due to the weather.

It was the first time in the tournament’s history there was no parade through the streets of Coleraine prior to the opening ceremony at The Showgrounds.

This prompted some angry reaction on social media. Mr Leonard though told Times Sport the committee has a ‘duty of care’ to the young players and took the decision after an afternoon of heavy rain fall.

“We tried to hold off for as long as we could but we couldn’t see the weather improving so we took the decision at 5.10pm this evening to cancel the parade,” he said.

“We have a duty of care towards the young people. They would have been standing about the Diamond in Coleraine from 5.45pm tonight and wouldn’t have left The Showgorunds until 8.30pm and it would have been unwise for us to do that.

“We’ve had a tremendous opening ceremony here at The Showgrounds tonight, the teams have all paraded in front of the crowds, the spectators all came to here I’m delighted to say, and I think the occasion as you did see here tonight was excellent.

“There was a great atmosphere with all the teams here. I think this was the biggest crowd we’ve ever had here. I’d like to thank all the people for coming up.

“Unfortunately we cannot help the weather, someone else up the stairs plans that.”