I started supporting Sunderland when I was 15 years of age, my first game at Roker Park was for the England ‘B’ team which included Shaun Elliott playing against Spain in 1980. I later stood in the Fulwell end and was totally hooked after watching our 1-0 win with a goal by Stan Cummins, that was our first win in a Roker Park Tyne & Wear derby since 1967. In the last 38 years I have enjoyed 7 promotions and suffered 8 relegations and been to Wembley 5 times. While all of the finals were memorable for the occasion SAFC ended up on the losing side each time. The 1998 Playoff final has to go down as one of the best matches ever at Wembley, so we should be proud of our part in that.
The Tyne Wear Derby is always an important game and my favourite away trip has to be my only visit to our closest neighbours in 2000, which was memorable not only for our 2-1 victory, but also for Thomas Sorensen saving Alan Shearer’s penalty. Other memorable league games I attended were games which were far too often battles against relegation. Notably the 1-0 victory at Liverpool in 1981 which kept us up and the Man City game in 1991 in which we came up short, but the backing we received made an impression on two people with Man City at the time. They would later become my favourite Manager Peter Reid and one of my favourite players Niall Quinn. Although Niall Quinn is one of my favourites for his playing career I can say that Kevin Phillips is my favourite player; all of his 113 goals were a highlight.
For the future, I would hope that we can get back to a level where we can compete in the Premier League. I have been amazed at the impact that Stewart Donald, Charlie Methven and Juan Sartori have had on the football club and it’s supporters. I am trying to not get too carried away, the future looks bright but one step at a time.
I have been a Sunderland supporter since the age of 5 as you can imagine I have seen many ups and downs since the day my Dad took me to a Middlesbrough v Sunderland game all those years ago. I took over as Secretary of the branch in 2004 from Jack Turton one of our founder members. Probably my best partnership would be Quinn and Phillips with Kevin Phillips edging my choice of favourite player due to his scoring record and my favourite goal the one against Chelsea at the SOL.
The best game recently at the SOL was when we beat Newcastle at the SOL and went onto the famous 6 in a row. Some notable moments for me would be chosen by SAFC to attend the Supporters of the Year award presented to all Sunderland Supporters at an event at Wembley. I am also Chairperson of the SAFCSA Branch Liaison Council, a co-opt representative on the RAWA (Red & White Army) as well as one of the BLC representatives on the Supporters Collective Group that meets regularly with the owners and management of SAFC.
I’ve always supported Sunderland, for as long as I can remember. My first game was on 18th November 1967 vs Liverpool. I was 12 at the time and went with my dad. We were in the clock stand paddock and we drew the game 1-1. Neil Martin scored for us with a Cec Irwin own goal for Liverpool.
When I got a bit older I used to go with my mates on the Martindale’s bus which picked up in the pit villages en route to Roker Park. A highlight was getting a ticket out of the voucher draw for the 1973 FA Cup Final and going to Wembley. I think my favourite game was the Man City 5th round replay, Sunderland 3 Man City 1, a night to remember. I got my first season ticket in 1989. This was in the main stand and was the first time I’d sat down at a game, previous to this I’d always stood in the Roker or Fulwell. I was sad to leave Roker Park behind but it was time for a change and it was great to move to the Stadium of Light and the start of the Reidy era. I’ve supported the team through thick and thin (mostly thin!) and am now looking forward to a good season in Division 1.
It’s been a tough few years and we hit rock bottom last season but things are much improved with the new owner, manager and players and I’m enjoying going to the games with a good set of people from the Coxhoe Branch and seeing a few wins and, most importantly, a good connection between the players and supporters.
Other Committee Members
- Kevin Graham
- Gary Stephenson
- Ryan Prince
- Kevin Ratton
- John Walton
- Life President, Billy Hughes