THANKS to Football League intervention and guidance, Sunderland’s fixture problems have been sorted out in a pattern which Manager Bob Stokoe finds acceptable, because there is now the guarantee of five clear days before they take on Leeds United at Wembley in the F.A. Cup Final on May 5.
The rearranged fixture with Orient at Brisbane Road for the Monday of Cup Final week still stands, but the Cardiff game has been switched to Monday, May 7, with Sunderland completing their League programme by entertaining Queen’s Park Rangers two days later.
This means that, starting tonight, Sunderland will be playing at least 11 games in the next 29 days, the “crunch” coming with a spell of five games in nine days before the Final.
Mr Stokoe says “I can understand Cardiff’s problems and I am grateful to Jimmy Scoular for his original offer of help.”
The League’s suggestion that Sunderland should visit City on Saturday, May 12 did not suit the Welsh club, because on the same day Wales play Scotland at Wrexham and it seems certain that Leighton Phillips will be called up for the national side.
They raised this point with the League, who then suggested that they should bring their rearranged League game with Hull City forward from May 7 to April 30, or May 1 and play Sunderland on May 7. Mr Stokoe said: “I’m quite happy about that suggestion” and City have accepted it too. If the Welsh club have further thoughts on the subject, no doubt the matter will be discussed at a meeting of the Football League Management Committee in the Great Western Hotel, London on Sunday morning.
Sunderland’s programme for the rest of the season now reads: Tonight, Huddersfield Town h; Portsmouth h; Monday, April 16, Burnley a; Saturday, April 21, Hull City a; Monday, April 23, Cardiff City h; Tuesday, April 24, Nottingham F a; Saturday, April 28, Blackpool h; Monday, April 30, Orient a; Saturday, May 5, Leeds United (Wembley); Monday, May 7, Cardiff City a; Wednesday, May 9, Q.P.R. h.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on April 10 1973.