Sunderland and Wembley 1973: not just about us. Leeds fans remember

1973 May 5The Leeds fan, “yorxman”, who posted his silly Yah Boo comment to one of our FA Cup Final 40th anniversary pieces, did at least have a point in implying we were sad to have to go back so long for anything to celebrate.

Members of the London and SE branch of the Sunderland AFC Supporters’ Association voted a few years ago to change the name of the newsletter from 5573 for that very reason. Ian Todd has pointed out elsewhere that it was not just younger members who disapproved of such a distant reference point as May 5 1973 (I voted to keep the name but cannot quarrel too much with the opposing view – and the replacement, Wear Down South, is a great alternative).

But our yorxsman’s sneers are not wholly representative of Leeds United supporters. That day was theirs too, or at any rate it was meant to be theirs, so it seemed a good idea to invite them to share their own memories. This is what a quick posting at the Leeds Fans Online site produced – and I am grateful to all those who contributed:

Silver Fox (encouraging me to post a message) wrote:

I remember the game well, it was the first time my heart was broken

Silsden White:

Well I remember travelling down to baden-powell house on the friday before the game (was on a scout weekend). The train was packed with both sets of fans & about 40 young cubs/scouts, & not an ounce of trouble. The day of the match & we all watched it on the telly. All I can remember is when that porterhouse scored, it broke my heart & I cried all evening along with quite a few of the other kids. PS I was only 10.


I watched it on telly, and it probably marked the moment when, at aged nearly 10, I first realised life could be a bit unfair. Genuinely no disrespect to Sunderland, for I concede it’s one of the Cup’s greatest ever fairytales and Stokoe’s boys played out of their skins, but if it wasn’t for bad luck, we’d have had no luck at all that day.
My elder brother, a West Ham fan, recognised that I was too desolate to rib (probably the only occasion where he ever let me off), and left me to go and hide in our disused coal scuttle in the back garden and ponder life and love and football.
The greater heartbreak occurred 2 years later in Paris, but this was the first deep wound.
Tom Sharpe was a Leeds fan….
His poignant homage to 1973 was ‘Porterhouse Blue’…


I always that it was Ian PORTERFIELD who scored THAT goal!
Don’t tell me that I’ve been having nightmares about the wrong guy all these years!!!!

Quite right Finnie…
Well – it was 40 years ago!

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Remember watching the game as a youngster. The defining moment for me when Lorimer must score and didn’t. Even now that save by Montgomery must go down as the finest save in the history of the FA Cup final. I was gutted at that. Lorimer should have blasted it.


It was a good win for Sunderland and something to hang on to for many years. It was a tad disappointing at the time but we were winning major trophies throughout that period, euro football was a given and we were not without silverware for many years. Funnily enough a clip round the ear from the old man or a visit to A and E after falling off my bike and having to have stitches never brought tears to my eyes and losing this match didn’t but losing against Chelsea in the FA Cup replay at Old Trafford did.

Oak Beck:

posted 04 May 2013 10:50 Hide Post
One of my pals offered me a ticket at the last minute, 20 years old at the time, it was too good a chance to turn down.

I seem to remember it was raining at the time, might be wrong though. We were quite high up above the tunnel end. We were all looking forward to the ‘formality’ of a Leeds victory and couldn’t believe they played so well and we were so unlucky. Absolutely gutted we lost. It was another one of those very long and silent/miserable journeys home.

I know quite a few Sunderland fans now and with unfortunately living in the North East News broadcast area we always seem to be reminded of ’73, it’s one of those years that everyone seems to have no trouble in remembering who won the Cup.

Separately, my friend Jules wrote from Paris, indeed The Other Side of Paris:

It’s taken decades of therapy to erase the memory of this astounding defeat. To this day, I can’t say “Ian Porterfield” without bursting into tears . . .

And here’s an unexpected one from our own Vince:

Yes too haveI vivid memories of this game as an 11 year old boy….having a totally horrendous day as I was then a supporter of Leeds Utd!!!!! The build up to the game had been bad enough,being the only Leeds fan in a school in Washington had made me a target for weeks,but I was feeling confident of victory. But that was nothing compared to the actual events that unfolded on the day.

My father (a Sunderland fan btw) having had one of the biggest colour TVs in the family had invited our whole red and white supporting family to watch the big game.Nervous all day I sat quietly in the corner of the room praying that my team would win. 36 minutes in an event that scarred me emotionally for many years is indelibely burned into my brain. Porterfield hooking the ball into an undefended Leeds Utd goal…queue mayhem in the house.

My father always said it was not until that point in time did he realize how big a fan of Leeds I had been…(no idea where he had been since I was 6 years old it was the only team I ever idolised as a kid.

The final result sent me into a torment for years to come….and a fair bit of torment back at school for the remainder of that year..never has a game of football haunted me as much.

Even now I look back at that game with mixed feelings.As an avid converted Sunderland fan now,whenever I see images of that game it brings back uneasy feelings.Typical that I cannot really enjoy the one success this club has had in my lifetime,.,,though I would dearly love to see them win something before I die…I did manage to get to the 92 Final ….this time supporting the correct team…however once again I had to suffer the heartbreak of seeing my team lose at a Wembly FA cup final.

Thanks again to those who participated.

Jake remembers ...
Jake remembers …
The rest of the series can be seen at this link:

Monsieur Salut, by Matt
Monsieur Salut, by Matt

12 thoughts on “Sunderland and Wembley 1973: not just about us. Leeds fans remember”

  1. Well done for putting the Leeds fans views up on the website. Bit more of this all round would be good. I am a lifelong Leeds fan. This was a bad game to lose but I watched it again on DVD and I thought that Sunderland played well and battled Leeds so no hard feelings finally! Not impressed with Stokoe claims about Revie but that shouldn’t have anything to do with a good old fashioned giant killing. Now we are reduced to being giant killers …

    • Thanks for that Nigel. Intelligent well made comments are always welcome, from fans of any club.

  2. I was thinking last night as the 73 team came out that I was at college when Sunderland last won a major trophy and now I’m retired. Do any other clubs celebrate an achievement from so long ago as Sunderland does over 73?

    Having watched re-runs over the years and looking at Sess and Gardner’s sendings off, had referees applied the laws in the same way back then, the match would have finished with 5 v 5 and Ritchie Pitt wouldn’t have lasted ten minutes.

    Happy days!

    • Too true..I was there last night and I applauded my nemesis team as loudly as anyone else….least I could do for shouting on t’ enemy all those years ago.

      Though Leeds could dish it out and were reknowned as the worst “dirty” team around by far….Billy Bremner and Norman “bite yer legs” Hunter being the leading lights.Some of those tackles could be felt at the back of the stands.

      And the refs used to shout “play on”……not even a yellow card.

    • A minutes applause last night for a goal scored 40 f**king years ago! How sad is that? See you next season hopefully

      • You’ve got a bloody cheek…..after the low Leeds Utd have hit… a bit of humility would not go amiss,pity you’ve not learnt any whilst wallowing amongst football’s minnows,.

      • As a leeds fan sunderland have every right to celebrate a cup final victory. Especially one that seemed so unlikely before the game. Leeds utd celebrated 40 years since our cup final win last year. What is the difference?

      • We’ve been through it all together and we’ve had our ups and downs…League 1 to European Cup/Champions League (final/semi final), been there done it all! We’ve plenty to talk about not just ONE thing you sad Mackem tw*ts. Roker Roar was nowt but a whimper

      • It’s like debating a 5 year old……so….. if we are doing this level of intellect….. your breath stinks like a hyena’s and you live in a zoo….your turn.

      • Better to win one thing fairly than half a dozen by cheating. As for the Roker Roar being a whimper, Danny Blanchflower said it was the most awe inspiring sound he had ever heard, and the only thing in football that had ever scared him!

      • good luck planning the 50th anniversary celebrations cos you’ll have nowt else to celebrate inbetween.Goo goo ga ga

      • Apart from another 10 years of Prem football. Something you can only dream of, or reminisce about.

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