When Sunderland last topped the league

John Hawley *

A trawl through the history of how SAFC respond to a really good win. As Moongod’s first comment shows, I should have made clear that being top, for the purposes of the headline and first sentence, had to last for longer than a couple of hours or so …

Only once in my long service as a Sunderland supporter have I been present at an occasion when we were top of the league. No, not the old Second Division or Third Division; I am talking about what we now call the Premier League and I am not old enough to have seen us win it in 1936.

The mini fact came to me when I decided to look back on how in the past we have followed up a thumping victory of the sort seen against Stoke City on Sunday.

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Soapbox: how Manchester City nearly ruined Dad’s birthday


Games against Man City, home and away, get the best – OK, oldest – of us wallowing in nostalgia. The 1973 FA Cup replay, an improbable 4-0 win at Maine Road with an even more improbable John Hawley hat-trick (1980), a relegation clincher in the last game of 1990/91. And Pete Sixsmith cannot think about Sunday’s clash without reflecting on some priceless family memories …

tell us that we have lost the last nine games to Citeh*, which makes for pretty dismal reading. I do remember beating them in the Reid era at the Stadium, and of course, they were our first visitors in 1998. I didn’t go to that game on account of how I was still sulking after the relegation of the previous season.

Over the years we have had some momentous moments with the Manchester Blues.

Read moreSoapbox: how Manchester City nearly ruined Dad’s birthday