Time gentlemen please to forget humbling Leeds and Newcastle


This is not intended as a breach of Salut! Sunderland‘s new commitment to get-behind-the-lads positivism in the run-up to the match (on the grounds that hostilities can always be resumed at 5pm). More of a general view on where we are as a club, what we actually want and whether it is time to stop harping on about past triumphs. And then, loyal readers and gloating visitors, it is over to you …

Much of Thursday passed without me realising the significance of the date: May 5. Then I remembered. And once reminded, I knew like everyone else what had happened on the same date 38 years ago. Did I say everyone else? Who else, apart from us, Leeds and a few football anoraks, actually feels any need to recall the 1973 FA Cup Final?


Very well, i probably underestimate the number of romantics out there who support neither club. And it is natural to look back on momentous events of the past, especially when we are old enough to remember them, and bask in the illusionary warm glow of nostalgia.

But is it time we came to terms with the the fact that celebrating the 38th anniversary of the last truly great thing to happen to Sunderland AFC is, in some ways, just a little bit sad?

Heaven knows Salut! Sunderland has been as guilty as anyone, to the extent not only of wearing 2-1 T-shirts marking a certain pair of victories at St James’ Park but writing for readerships stretching from Wearside to the Arabian Gulf and beyond about another slice of faded glory: Newcastle United 1 Sunderland 9 on Dec 5 1908.

Indeed, some of you may feel M Salut is the only one around here old enough to have been present at all those occasions. And you can bet that if I had been in the press box 102+ years ago, I’d have been boring other hacks before the game with behind-the-scenes tales about the 1890s Team of All Talents.

Let me throw the discussion open by repeating what has been said about it at the estimable Blackcats list. The thread began at about 10 to five and was entitled “38 years ago today, around about now …. ” and went something like this:

* Bobby Kerr was lifting the cup

– Stephen Worthy

** 38 years ago right now,I was sat on a bus going home with Patsy Gallacher (now deceased) who played for us in the 1937 Final.

– Jeremy Robson

*** 5 years ago today, I got married. Is the date a coincidence? I don’t think so.

38 year ago I was being pushed in a buggy around a deserted Barnes Park by my mam, so she could avoid the match. Not one for footy, my mam.

– Neil Chandler

And then the killer blow …

**** And we’ve had nothing to talk about ever since. I’m as proud as anybody about that day and that achievement – but crowing on endlessly about it, like the club and us fans continue to do, is really a sad indictment of the abject failure of SAFC..

– Mick Goulding

.***** a garbled, truncated message from …

– M Salut

****** That heap of garble was something I started to write in reply to Mick, thought better of and tried to kill but managed somehow to send. It would have been a ramble about having no tearing desire to be a top two, three, four club and therefore revelling in the glories of 1973 and even 1908 or the 1890s. But then I realised it isn’t true. I WOULD like to see real success. I know I never will but that’s different

– M Salut

******* So would I. 73 was great and all that. But it starts to wear really thin and look a bit sad when we are constantly harping on about one trophy 38 years ago – which seems like yesterday, but is actually a very long time in football. We have every right to be proud of it, but that’s very different from harping on and on about it. There was a new fanzine for sale at the ground last Saturday and it was called 73. The t-shirt stalls are still selling stuff related to 73 and players from the 73 team are still spoken of as giants of the game – when most people in the country have never heard of them.

It’s very sad indeed that a club like ours has absolutely nothing to show for 38 years, many of them spent in the top flight. Newcastle are the same, and that gives us a bit of respite, but it’s still comparing rubbish with rubbish. I’m just getting tired of it and wish we could win something, as smaller and poorer clubs than us have done (eg Birmingham this season).

– Mick Goulding

Having thought about it on the hoof, the way forward seemed clear.

If only we could be given just a hint of contemporary success – a League Cup trophy, maybe, as opposed to going out meekly in the early rounds – then we’d feel an awful lot happier about honouring grand achievements from history. Leeds and Toon fans – at least the former don’t have to go as far back in the record books to spot meaningful silverware – are welcome to join the debate.

Monsieur Salut

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12 thoughts on “Time gentlemen please to forget humbling Leeds and Newcastle”

  1. In the 1973 Cup Final team there were four Scotsmen. Nowadays we have one (I don’t count Bardsley). Six of the team came ‘through the ranks ‘. Nowadays we are delighted to have two.

  2. I’d love the club to win something in my lifetime. I was born in 76 and have followed the lads seriously since the late 80’s so have seen little if any success to get too excited about. Most of my best memories are from the lower leagues when we actually won games consistently! (well… usually!)

    Here’s hoping i’ll get to see glory days like i hear so many fans reminiscing over in the pub/ at the match / online /etc. Looks a bit far off at the minute but we can all dream. Although, I hope it doesn’t remain a dream for too long and saint niall and mr short help us fulfill some of that potential we’ve harboured for so long. Not sure brucey will be there for the ride but you never know. Stranger things have happened…

  3. I went to the 73 final – a mere slip of a lad – then on to the 85 Milk Cup final – a father to be . A young fellow called Bruce was centre half for Norwich that day – went on to do great things as a player . As everyone probably knows both finalists were relegated that season . My only other visit to Wembley was in 1990 for the play off final against Swindon – we got beaten 1 – 0 but absolutely slaughtered football wise – then got promoted 2 weeks later because of Swindons breach of league rules – which lead to them being relegated a division
    I am fortunately going to the FA CUp final next week , unfortunately in the Mity mix , although I shall be supporting the red and whites

  4. don’t forget it. It’s a good memory, and that one cup win probably means more to SAFC fans than six premeir titles do to your average Man Utd fan. I remember coming away from the 92 final on the tube, sitting opposite a Liverpool fan about my age, with hsi small son. He looked as glum as hell, so I asked if he was not happy about their win.”Just another day at the office” was his reply. Please don’t ever let us get as complacent as that, however successful we might become

  5. We would never have had this debate a year or two ago. For the first time in my lifetime I felt as if 1973 was from long ago. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because we have a team full of insipid characters who would be put to shame almost to a man by the lads that played their hearts out that day.

    Maybe we should think twice about shutting up about it as I really doubt whether we will win anything in the next 38 years.

  6. It was remebered at Sixsmith Towers when I sat and wondered what had happened to that optimistic young teacher who was just starting out when we won the cup. Then I looked in the mirror………………..frightening.
    Incidentally, I saw a cracking Brooks Mileson Challenge Cup final last night. Newcastle Benfield 3 v Spennymoor 1 and Benfield played almost all the second half and extra time with 10 men. Restored my faith in the game after the rubbish from Spain!!

  7. eerrrrr. Sometimes I cannot remember my visa pin number, I did once and this is true, forget my own birthday. BUT , the names , Ian Porterfield, Bob Stokoe and bloody Jim (I,m gonna close my eyes and hope for the best save in Mackem history) Montgomery are etched permenently on my brain. The sole of a club is made with great moments like 73, good or bad. I live in OZ now but took great pleasure in driving around Melbourne with my Leeds scarf flying out the window when we Knocked the prawns out in the 3rd round in their own back yard!! ps, did you also beat us in Billy Bremners testamonial at Elland Road. My memory as gone all fussy again…..

  8. oh what happened to you, what ever happened to me?
    what became of the people we used to be?
    tomorrow’s almost over
    today’s gone by too fast
    the only thing to look forward to…..’s the past

  9. Seems as if all us North East fans have to look forward to is the past. I have to say though going back to 1908 is taking it a bit to far. At least we Geordies have something to hang on to this season 4 points off you lot & a 5-1 drubbing. I really hope you lot have a good season next season as long as we finish above you. HWTL

  10. Usual health warning: stick to ordinary rules of decency etc and all replies are welcome. Neanderthals (like the supporter of a nameless North-eastern team who just tried to post one-line, abusive drivel masquerading as a comment*) may find this site unsuited to their powers of expression.

    And first-time posters may experience a delay for anti-spam moderation …

    * his/her second try was better, but still drivel. Look at the partisan but sensible comment from Geordiedoonsooth and you might get the hang of it.

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