Spot and click to magnify Roker Park. And then read on for the next part of a SAFC story from just a few years before that photograph was taken (1970).
The reproduction, with barely any updating, of the first part of Salut! Sunderland‘s 2011 interview with a charismatic Roker Park hero, Johnny Crossan, was well received, with positive comments here and on social media. Nick Barnes, who does such a good job with Gary Bennett of bringing matchdays to absentees and exiles with his BBC Radio Newcastle commentary – available everywhere via safc.com – liked it and so did one of his predecessors, the same station’s expert on all matters Durham County Cricket (and more besides), Martin Emmerson.
So here is Part Two (of three); remember the interview was conducted – from Ramside Hall before a retirement shindig for the Northern Echo’s Mike Amos – at the back end of Steve Bruce’s reign, before James McClean had been given his first taste of action by Martin O’Neill. There is a third, which will come soon, and I have written to Johnny in the hope of bringing the story bang up to date.
The amount of time Johnny was willing to give up for a piddling little fan site was quite astonishing. But before we resume the full sequence of questions and answers, I have something that needs a special mention.
Towards the end of a long telephone conversation from Sedgefield to Derry, I said:
I have a boyhood memory of playing in the park after school and stopping outside my own penalty box to turn and shoot a spectacular own goal high past our goalie (maybe Pete Sixsmith was there, too). At the time I imagined it as my Johnny Crossan moment. Can you see why a young boy would identify you with rebelliousness?
Johnny’s response was to laugh. And continue to laugh for some seconds before giving the answer you find below. For an old codger able to look back on a few decades, it was priceless …