Sunderland/Leeds remembered: it’s those magic numbers 7 and 3 again

Leeds United fans hate us mentioning it, just as Newcastle United supporters mock us for referring to Dec 5 1908. But since Leeds still have a good chance of following the Toon example in gaining promotion from a lower division, we’re sure they won’t mind another gentle reminder of the day every football fan (apart from them) smiled …

Sunderland fans, especially those who go back a bit, never tire of remembering, on May 5 of each year, a certain event that occurred at Wembley stadium on that date in 1973.

Today, we mark the 37th anniversary of the fabulous 1-0 FA Cup Final conquest over Don Revie’s swaggering Leeds United. United fans of 1973 would not have believed you if you’d told them then that by the time the game’s 37th anniversary had been reached, they’d be fighting another desperate battle to get out of what we knew as the Third Division.

The figures 3 and 7 have great resonance for SAFC, partly as a result of our own record of underachievement over an even longer period than that endured by Leeds.

Our only other FA Cup Final win was in 1937, when we beat Preston North End 3-1. Many of us sometimes wear replica Sunderland shirts commemorating that era and that honour (mine had its latest outing at the Stadium of Light on Sunday).

Switch the last two digits and you get 1973, not quite 37 years later (OK, clutching at straws a little there) which is, in turn – as we began by noting – also 37 years ago.

The lack of serious success since Ian Porterfield’s goal and Monty’s saves won the game for us at Wembley is emphasised by the fact that for several years, the newsletter of the London branch of the SAFC Supporters’ Association was 5573. It was a great name but was replaced by the even better Wear Down South as younger fans grew weary of having to hark back so long, in many case to before they were born, for a spot of club glory.

In the intervening period, we have had lots of promotions (necessitated by lots of relegations), one Milk Cup Final and one more FA Cup Final (both as losers), one semi-final (beaten by Millwall), two seventh top finishes in the Premier and, um, some trophies for the Reserves.

Salut! Sunderland is confident we won’t have to have a further 37 years for the next time our captain hoists a meaningful trophy. Feel free to write if I get that wrong …

Further reading – and more historic pictures (with thanks to the Sunderland Echo) …

* 5573 and all that

* Sunderland 1 Leeds United 0: words can describe it

* the greatest FA Cup Final shock of all time?

* Long ago, when all the world willed us to beat Leeds

Colin Randall


3 thoughts on “Sunderland/Leeds remembered: it’s those magic numbers 7 and 3 again”

  1. 2007 Leeds United 0 Sunderland 3
    2005 Leeds United 0 Sunderland 1
    2002 Leeds United 0 Sunderland 1
    Last weekend;
    Sunderland v Manchester United FA Premier League (Top tier)
    Charlton Athletic v Leeds United FL Division One (3rd Tier)

    We love to talk about the day we beat the most disliked and obnoxious team in the history of English football. Cloughie (ex Sunderland ) had you absolutely right – you won those medals by cheating.
    I’ll be rooting for wins for Bristol Rovers and anyone who can overtake you on Saturday.

  2. well i suppose you mackams were gona bring it up again today,just like every other day realy,i notice that if your not worrying about newcastle your talking about 1973,now i work up in sunderland and i know theres not alot there but i like to remember all the other times that leeds used to go roker park and thrash you and have you ever got anything at elland road,but the main thing is that leeds used to compete in the premier league top 5 every season not just try and survive like you lot do and even though we are in league one now we’d still give you a game and probably win thats how bad you are !!enjoy the memories!!

  3. I had Lance Hardy’s excellent book signed by Dave Watson, Monty, Dick Malone and Dennis Tueart on Sunday. All looked well and there was a real camaraderie about them; man hugs, joshing comments etc. Dick Malone has hardly changed and looks fitter than some of the recent players we have had at The Stadium.
    I agree with Colin though. It would be nice to be able to recall some more recent triumphs.Maybe next season?

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