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.