December 3, 2007

Sunderland AFC.

Filed under: English Football Clubs — admin @ 8:24 am


Sunderland & District Teachers Association Football Club was formed in 1879.  Glasgow-born James Allan was the driving force behind the club’s formation.  One year later, membership was opened to all, and they became Sunderland AFC.  The club was elected to the Football League in 1890.  They were the only club in the league from the north-east of england, and had to pay travel expenses for visiting clubs.  With a board of directors made wealthy by the region’s coal and shipbuilding industries, the club was able to assemble a strong, primarily Scottish, squad.  Sunderland quickly won 3 Titles: in 1892, 1893, and 1895 (and were runners-up in 1894).  They were famously called “the Team of All Talents.”  In 1898, they moved into their new ground, Roker Park, which had a capacity of 30,000.  1902 saw them win their fourth League Title.  In 1913, Sunderland won the league for the fifth time, and were runners-up in the FA Cup, losing to Aston Villa 1-0, in front of 120,000, at the old Crystal Palace.   They won their sixth, and final title 71 years ago, in 1936.  In 1937, they won their first FA Cup, beating Preston North End 3-1, at the old Wembley.   After World War II, Sunderland began drawing huge crowds.  Roker Park (see picture) became famous for it’s noise: “the Roker Roar.”  Their peak was 1950, when they averaged 47,700, and finished in 3rd place.  Investing heavily in players, they were derisively nicknamed “The Bank of England,” as they broke transfer records.    But the money spent was for nought, and they were relegated to the 2nd division in 1958.  Their 68-year run in the First Division (1890-1958) is the second-longest in English league history, exceeded only by Arsenal (currently at 81 seasons).  After six seasons in the second tier (1958-64), the club returned to the top flight for six seasons (1964-70), but they never finished above 15th place.  Sunderland won the FA Cup, while in the 2nd Division, in 1973.  (see this article)  Their surprise defeat of Leeds, 1-0, was marked by a great double-save by goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery, and a winning volley by Ian Porterfield.  It was the Black Cat’s last trophy. (see this You Tube tribute)  The club returned to the First division in 1977, only to be relegated again.  This began a pattern of relegation (7 times) and promotion (7 times) that has continued to this day.   Their low point was the one season spent in the Third Division (1987-88).  They had a brief spell of promise in the 2000 and 2001 seasons, twice finishing in 7th.  But since then, they have went up and down twice.  This pattern may have been halted, though.  Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane was hired as manager, in September, 2006, when Sunderland was bottom of the second tier.  Keane, who has shown a legendary level of intensity throughout his career, (see this article) has been surprisingly restrained, and extremely effective, in this his first shot as boss.  Sunderland went on to steamroll up the table, and win promotion as champs.  This season, the Black Cats will do well to avoid the drop, but Keane seems to have fashioned aside that is up to the challenge.

Thanks to all the sites I linked up to on this post, plus Historical Football Kits website (www[dot]historicalkits[dot]co[dot]uk), whose kits (the five on the bottom left of the chart) are reproduced by kind permission.  Also thanks to Colours of Football website (www[dot]colours-of-football[dot]com, for the newer kits. Thanks to Curley’s Corner Shop (www[dot]south-shields[dot]myby[dot]co[dot]uk), and www[dot]omrawan[dot]forumslog[dot]com for photos.  Also thanks to the Roker Roar, whose catchy Sunderland ’73 FA Cup song is now stuck in my head.

WordPress database error: [Table 'bil072291136157.wp_comments' doesn't exist]
SELECT * FROM wp_comments WHERE comment_approved = '1' AND comment_post_ID = 519 ORDER BY comment_date_gmt ASC

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress