University of Sunderland graduate Martin Longstaff has been creating quite an online commotion with Shipyards, his song that became the theme tune of the Netflix documentary Sunderland Till I Die.

And now Martin – backed by staff at the university – is attempting to make the tune Christmas number one on the iTunes chart. The song is already in the top ten.

Martin– who performs under the name The Lake Poets – was inspired to write the song by memories of his grandfather, George, who spent his life working in Sunderland shipyards.

Sunderland Till I Die is a series that follows the ups, downs and tribulations of Sunderland AFC.

The documentary makers were granted full behind-the-scenes access at Sunderland last season, a difficult and turbulent period in the club’s history.

Martin– a Primary School PGCE graduate who studied at the University of Sunderland in 2012 – was asked by the documentary’s production team if they could use his song. Martin agreed and the song went on to strike a chord with many viewers.

Naomi Austin, a senior lecturer in Fashion, Design and Promotion at Sunderland, said, “The opening titles (of the documentary) are beautiful, really stunning.”

“I’m a tough Geordie lass, but have a real affinity for the city now, especially after writing my first book about shipbuilding there. The opening brought tears to my eyes. And, of course, I love Martin Longstaff.”

Remembering his grandfather, Martin said, “He was a really, really quiet man who worked hard all his life.”

“He was born in Pallion and worked in Deptford. He was a rivet catcher from 14 and then a crane driver – that’s what I remember him as.”

Sunderland chairman Stewart Donald has called on fans of the club to download Shipyards in a bid to make it iTunes number one for Christmas.

There have even been calls for Martin to perform the song at the Stadium of Light on Boxing Day, before Sunderland play Bradford City.

Martin said, “Sunderland AFC are by far the greatest team the world has ever seen and the people of the city are even better.”

If you would like to help get Shipyards to number one, you can download it here.

(Featured image courtesy of Liam Swinney, from Flickr Creative Commons.)

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