Ambrose Fogarty RIP: ‘a perfect fit’ for Sunderland, Hartlepool and Ireland

With thanks to Charlie Buchan
With thanks to the excellent Charlie Buchan’s Football Monthly website for permission previously granted to reproduce its images

Monsieur Salut writes: Pete Sixsmith remembers a player who figured in his youth and mine as we made our way every other Saturday to Roker Park. Despite having to slog for a regular place against gifted stars of the age, ‘Amby’ Fogarty was a good player who served our club, other clubs and his country well …

They don’t make players
with names like that anymore. Ambrose Gerald Fogarty, born in Dublin in 1933, just before Hitler came to power in Germany, has died at the ripe old age of 82.

He was a nearly man at Sunderland although he played 174 times for the first team before moving on to Hartlepools United (as they then were) in 1964.

His first team was Home Farm, a prolific Dublin junior club who have, over the years, turned out many top class players – Liam Brady, Ronnie Whelan, Johnny Giles and Richard Dunne amongst them and it has also produced former Sunderland players in Kenny Cunningham, Graham Kavanagh, Ian Harte and Brian Mooney.

From Home Farm he moved on to Bohemians and then on to Glentoran in the Irish League where he turned professional and made a name for himself. He was picked up by Alan Brown in 1957 and made his debut in a 3-2 win at St Andrews, where the scorers were Don Revie with two and Billy Bingham.

That win took us out of the relegation zone and Amby kept his place in the team for the rest of the season, scoring on his debut at Roker Park in a 2-2 draw against Chelsea in front of 32,678. Two further goals followed in a crushing defeat at Luton and a home defeat to Manchester United, with 51,328 cramming into Roker to see the post Munich United team win 2-1.

It wasn’t a great season for the club as they slipped out of the top league for the first time and things barely improved the next season when we struggled in the Second Division although he only made three appearances.

After that, he became a regular as Alan Brown began to plot the clubs route back to the top league. Switching between the No 7 and No 8 shirts, he barely missed a game between September 1959 and Boxing Day 1961.

Coming back the next season, he had to vie with George Herd and Johnny Crossan for the inside forward berths on the team – three international players fighting for two places in a Second Division team. What could we do with the likes of these now?

Herd and Crossan got the nod from Brown from Christmas ’62 onwards and he played only three games in the 1963-64 promotion campaign as Herd and Crossan showed their qualities.

His last goal in a red and white shirt came in a 2-0 win over Manchester City at Roker, a game more noted for Monsieur Salut and his younger and easily influenced side-kick pinching toilet rolls from the Durham to Sunderland train and draping them over the back of the Fulwell End goal when either Amby or Johnny Crossan scored.

He moved to Hartlepools United at the start of the 1964-65 season, costing them the then astronomical sum of £10,000 and became the first Pools player to be awarded a full cap while at the club. He had previously won 10 while at Sunderland.

He was a player who fitted into both clubs well. In addition to his 174 appearances for us, he notched up another 127 for the Poolies before returning to the Republic and managing Cork Hibernian, Cork Celtic, Drumcondra (names that have vanished from the canon of Irish football) and ending up at Athlone Town where he was manager for over 20 years.

Older fans than me speak well of Amby: “a good utility player”, “always gave his best” and “unlucky to be there at the same time as Herd and Crossan” were some of the things I have heard said today. His name will mean little to the younger generation but to us old scrotes who read and contribute to this site, it’s another little bit of our boyhoods disappearing.

Thanks for the memories Ambrose and condolences to your family. I hope The Bomber doesn’t have you training on the beach.

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9 thoughts on “Ambrose Fogarty RIP: ‘a perfect fit’ for Sunderland, Hartlepool and Ireland”

  1. Hi Sean Fogarty,
    Sorry for your loss, My Aunt was Catherine O’Driscoll, from Dublin, whose Father was Ambrose O’Driscoll. Your GrandMother and your Great GrandFather.

    I would love to talk to you.

    Kind Regards: Alan

  2. I also remember him, mostly for his unusual and exotic name! I saw my first game in 62 as a 9 year-old, so missed his best time at Sunderland, catching only fleeting glimpses of the few games he got from then on. But the name still evokes precious memories of when football was full of magic and wonder, and trips to Roker Park were epic adventures – rather than the mundane force of habit that supporting Sunderland is now.

  3. I used to jump on my “Elite Performance Streamlined Multicoloured” bicycle (in reality an old bone shaker that my old man had rescued from the council dump) and cycle and walk from Ford Estate to Cleadon every day during school holidays just to see Amby and Cloughy train. Both gentlemen and very obliging to autograph hunters that probably had their signature a hundred times. How times have changed. RIP Amby.

  4. Ambrose was the ultimate utility player. All managers value players like this. Great engine, unselfish and all round team player.
    I loved our team of that era, and have very good memories of Ambrose Fogarty. RIP mate.

  5. How many of that 1964 era squad are still living, Clough, Fogarty, McNab and Sharkey have left us but what of the remainder

  6. Remember him well in those days only one sub, the choice was Dickie Rookes and Willie McPheat or Ambrose.

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