Sixer’s Manchester City Soapbox: Sunderland succeeding where Leeds couldn’t

Jake: Sixer strolls down memory lane
Jake: Sixer strolls down memory lane

John Mac writes: Man City breezed past second division Leeds on Sunday, extending to 41 years the length of time that has elapsed since United last won the FA Cup (they have won the league twice since then but that all seems a long time ago, too).

Forty years ago this fixture could have been the final had City not come up against a different second division side in the fifth round, one that was much, much better than the Leeds of today.

Following the weekend Sixer’s Sevens summing up that Man City-SAFC game, and better 40 years late than never, here is Pete Sixsmith‘s account of his trip to Maine Road, when the first of three teams from the top division succumbed to the Stokoe magic. The general plan is pursue our 1973 cup run in similar fashion until May 5. It beats getting upset again about our lamentably early exit this season …

As the train pulled out
of the Stygian gloom of Sunderland station on the morning of the game, the general consensus of the group was that a draw was probably about the best we could expect.

As the train pulled out under the splendid roof of Manchester Victoria after the game, the general consensus was that we had been robbed of a glorious win and that glamour boys City were really lucky to have a second chance.

Ray Tinkler of Boston, the alleged referee, allowed a ridiculous goal from Mike Summerbee to stand despite Rodney Marsh standing in front of Monty and blocking him, causing him to knock the ball into the net as he tried to grab the City player’s corner.

It cancelled out the fantastic goal that Billy Hughes had scored a few minutes earlier. Dennis Tueart had set him away and he skinned Jeffries, the City defender, before thundering a shot past Corrigan, who barely saw it, never mind save it.

That we, a mid table Division Two side, had taken the lead against Moneybags City, a club who spent money as if it was going out of fashion, was quite astounding for the horde of Red and Whites scattered all over Maine Road.

It was not a lead that was fortunate. After losing a goal to Tony Towers, a player of little charm and much aggression, we had levelled through Mickey Horswill. Poor old Joe Corrigan (ha, ha) had kicked the ball straight to Ginger Mick instead of full back Donachie. He promptly despatched into the net, silencing the mature lady with the bell for a few moments at least.

After that, we absolutely dominated the game. Bobby Kerr, Ian Porterfield and Bobby Kerr ran the midfield. At the back, Dave Watson, looking a far better centre half than he was centre forward, and Richie Pitt, who could have been playing at Sincil Bank for Lincoln City against Newport County.


The whole team were quite magnificent. There was not a weakness in the eleven. From Monty through to “Dennis, Dennis Tueart on the wing” we chased and harried as a lower league side should.

But we also played football and we played it with panache. There was pace up front from Hughes and Tueart combined with the strength of the excellent Vic Halom, a Hungarian becoming even more popular than the Vesta Hungarian Goulash I had for tea last week.

Had we held on for a few more minutes, City would have more than likely fallen apart. Colin Bell was never in the game, Rodney Marsh lived up to the song that 12,000 travelling Sunderland supporters bestowed on him and Tony Towers was, in the words of an older teaching colleague, a “guttersnipe”. He was deservedly sent off for thumping Mickey Horswill. I can’t see a player like him ever don the famous Red and White stripes.

Oops. Tony Towers. In red and white stripes. Courtesy
Oops. Tony Towers. In red and white stripes. Courtesy

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The train provided by British Rail
was full. It was full of passengers, it was full of beer and it was full of Police Officers – and police dogs. It was made up of carriages that had probably been used the last time we won the Cup all those years ago. Comfortable it was not, but not one of us minded.

The drink slid down as we passed through Huddersfield, Leeds and York. Empty cans of Double Maxim, Tartan Bitter and McEwans Export littered the tracks all the way home. We arrived in a noisy and joyous Sunderland in time for several pints of Samson in The Albion and then slept soundly before we got up at silly o’clock to go and queue for tickets for the replay.

It could be a cracker.

Pigeon Detectoves; decent band, hopelessly romantic LUFC supporters. The Citeh-Leeds outcome was inevitable the moment Matt Bowman told TalkSport United were certain winners
Pigeon Detectoves; decent band, hopelessly romantic LUFC supporters. The Citeh-Leeds outcome was inevitable the moment Matt Bowman told TalkSport United were certain to win
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7 thoughts on “Sixer’s Manchester City Soapbox: Sunderland succeeding where Leeds couldn’t”

  1. You went to the Vasas away tie Pete? I’m mightily impressed! I was 16 at the time, earning a tenner a week and as it was pre-Ryanair couldn’t afford it. I would have loved to go there, or Portugal for the next round. I consoled myself by thinking European football for Sunderland surely wasn’t a one off. Forty years on and yes, it was a one off!

  2. I never met him but, when I was a child, my parents often socialised with him as they were also quite friendly with Ritchie Pitt…Vic was a larger than life character by all accounts.

    I once payed cards with Ritchie for his cup medal….and won…though he never did hand it over….the cad.

  3. The inane ramblings of an old man, Vince. I probably meant Billy Hughes.
    Vic did have relatives in Budapest. I know, because I was there!!!!

  4. “After that, we absolutely dominated the game. Bobby Kerr, Ian Porterfield and Bobby Kerr ran the midfield.”

    Intentional?Was Bobby so good it was like there was two of him?Or a typo?

    Only asking.

  5. Great great game, heaving ground, big away support, fantastic guts from the away side. City weren’t really “moneybags” in those days, though. Although we relieved you of Watson, Tueart and, unfortunately, Horswill shortly after. This was the end of an era for City and a milestone in one of the most fantastic cup runs I can remember. I had to wait till 81 for City to take the same romantic route and that all ended in tears. My best mate at school was a Leeds fan and we watched the final on his gran’s colour telly (first time I’d seen a match on tv in colour). Porterfield! One-nil! shouted David Coleman. Still makes the hairs stand up on the back of the neck today. Splendid stuff. Can you do something similar for the replay?

  6. Long before the internet existed I had an argument with a mate about Vic Halom’s Hungarian ancestry. My mate said I’d imagined it but I was sure when we played Vasas Budapest in the Cup Winners’ Cup some of Vic’s family were there to greet him at the airport. Anyway, it’s too late to settle that dispute now but Vic “Son Of Puskas” Halom was a great hero of mine. He was a lazy get at times but he scored some great goals for us and always seemed to be smiling.

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