Another one from the archives: Ken Gambles and some childhood heroes

John McCormick writes: With a traveller like Pete Sixsmith on our books we’re always going to be able to tell a tale or two to enthrall our readers, and it’s no surprise that Pete’s home and away  “First Time” series have gone down great guns. But Pete’s not the only one with long memories and we’ve all come up with tales of trips, wins and losses which have gone down in legend. So too with players. Cloughie (I never saw him) Charlie Hurley, Quinn and SuperKev, perhaps, or lesser heroes like Danny bloody Graham – whom I actually did see score a goal. But it’s not always Sunderland players, our writers and readers are renowned for their fairness and am
n ability to recognise class. So we’re taking a little trip away from the Stadium of Light to revisit some of Ken Gambles’ early heroes.

Here’s how M Salut introduced Ken’s piece in March, 2015, not long after the death of one of them, double winning Dave McKay, with the title:

The Tottenham, Chelsea, Everton, WBA and QPR giants who fired my youth

Ken Gambles is Sunderland through and through. But the recent death of Dave Mackay got him thinking back to some of the giants of English football seen in his student days. Let Ken reacquaint older readers with – and introduce younger ones to – some of the players who gave him such pleasure without ever pulling on the red and white stripes of Sunderland …

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West Bromwich Albion ‘Who are You?’: once-reviled Pulis’s ‘searing honesty’


USA-based Andrew Caulton:’Astle Gates – a reverential place for any Baggies fan. I go to at least one game a season and have seen us score twice in the last five years’

Monsieur Salut
writes: Every few months, a satellite US radio station Sirius XM, asks me onto a late show (late for me) to talk about the latest woes afflicting Sunderland. That is where Andrew Caulton*, an Englishman in New Hampshire with fingers in lots of football pies, heard me (twice). We met again at Twitter, where he revealed his lifelong West Brom allegiance and readily agreed to sit in the ‘Who are You?’ hot seat. His recollections of the 1973 cup run and of coaching Calum Davenport, who played for us on loan, are priceless.

It is another long read but Andrew seems the sort of bloke you could happily natter with for hours in the pub …

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Ahead of SAFC v West Brom – Dawn Astle on Justice for Jeff

Jeff Astle
Jeff Astle

Malcolm Dawson writes: when I was young virtually the only domestic football televised live was the FA Cup final. Like most football daft youngsters I would sit engrossed in pre-match build up from about 11.00 in the morning until the game finished. I remember many of those games to this day and one abiding memory was Jeff Astle’s winner for West Brom over Everton,(watch final highlights here) completing the feat of scoring in every round. (West Brom’s 68 Cup run)

Later in life I spent over 30 years living in North West Leicestershire where I came across Jeff a couple of times on the cricket field, where he proved to be a likeable bloke with the competitive attitude you would expect from a former professional sportsman. Following on from her excellent West Brom “Who Are YouJeff’s daughter Dawn explains the poignant consequences of her father’s sporting career, both for himself and his family. She explains the heartache and the dignified way in which she, her family and friends and the wider football community have come together to highlight an issue that has been sadly overlooked. You can find out more about the Jeff Astle Foundation here and CTE (the injury that afflicted Jeff in later life here).

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Still seeking Justice for Jeff as West Bromwich Albion visit Sunderland


Every so often, a noble cause brings opposing sets of supporters together and Saturday’s game against WBA offers a chance for one such display of solidarity. This is a slightly updated version of the posting contributed by Salut! Sunderland’s deputy editor Malcolm Dawson and which, we are pleased to report, has been seen by Jeff Astle’s family …

When I was a kid I watched the FA Cup Final on TV religiously. It was virtually the only live televised football available to those of us growing up in the fifties and sixties.

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