Nick Sharkey RIP: ‘natural goalscorer, lovely man’

Nick Sharkey: with thanks to the Sunderland Former Players' Association*
Nick Sharkey: with thanks to the Sunderland Former Players’ Association*

Nick Sharkey, a prolific scorer for Sunderland in the 1960s and by all accounts a terrific man, has died at the age of 71. Salut! Sunderland extends deep sympathy to his family and friends. puts it like this: “The Scot scored 62 goals in 117 appearances for Sunderland during the early to mid Sixties and was an active, prominent and extremely popular member of the Sunderland Former Players’ Association*.”

Read more of the official site’s obituary at

Pete Sixsmith and Monsieur Salut, being of a certain age, have happy memories of Nick, not least his five goals at home to Norwich City in 1963 (we won 7-1, but the season ended sadly with promotion narrowly missed) and his appearance in each of the three epic encounters (well, two epics and a rout) against Manchester United in the FA Cup 6th round in 1963. He scored in two of those games.

On his retirement, he worked in sales industry but remained in the Sunderland area.

Barry Emmerson, a good friend of this site, wrote at Facebook:

So sad to hear of the death of Nick Sharkey a goalscorer of natural ability.Scored I think 63 goals for Sunderland in 123 games and 5 in one game against Norwich.

Got to know Nick very well and played golf with him quite often. He was a lovely man.

Nick worked for many years as a salesman for Provincial Amusement company selling and maintaining fruit machines in pubs and clubs.Was a very good golfer and great company always very pleasant to everyone.I used to go with my dad to Hendon on a Saturday morning to watch him in the youth team he was so small but scored stacks of goals as a centre forward.He was succeeded by Neil Martin and he moved on to Leicester City then Hartlepool.

Look up Pathe news film and see him score against Man utd in 1964 third game at Huddersfield.

* And there’s a great quote from Nick at, the website of the SAFC Former Players’ Association, which has previously given permission for Salut! Sunderland to re[produce its photographs.

The supporters were always behind me … but I managed to shake them off halfway up Fulwell Road!

RIP Nick Sharkey.

5 thoughts on “Nick Sharkey RIP: ‘natural goalscorer, lovely man’”

  1. A good player, especially in the 63-64 promotion season. He was a real goal poacher and I remember him when he scored in a vital promotion match against Preston when Sunderland were 4 up before half-time. He did okay in the old first division and notched a few important goals.

  2. Seeing young Nick put 5 past Norwich is one of the highlights of my watching SAFC. He could have had a couple more but for some bad luck. A midweek game if I recall — it was certainly under lights.

    I also recall the day his exhaust fell off outside the BizBar he and Cec Irwin got out and just shoved it in the boot. I suppose modern footballers don’t get that with their Bentleys and Lambourghinis. Different (better) days!

    RIP Nicky

  3. Very sad to hear this news. He came into the side as a regular following Brian Clough’s tragic accident, and he scored a hatful of goals [ by modern standards his strike rate was superb ]

    Had he been a few inches taller I think he would have been up there with the very best.

    Thanks for the memories.

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