SUNDERLAND manager Mr Bob Stokoe interrupted his lunch at a seafront hotel before setting off for tonight’s league game at Preston to cheer the news that Sunderland had been paired with the winners of the Arsenal v Chelsea Sixth Round tie in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup at Hillsborough Sheffield on April 7. “This is the one I fancied,” he said “and it suits us fine.
“Arsenal were lucky to get a 2-1 win over Carlisle United in the Fifth Round at Brunton Park and they are obviously having problems in the Sixth Round, too. If we’ve got a chance of going to Wembley then I think we will get it from this particular game.”
We’ve got a lot of football to play this season. Now that we know what the Semi-Final job amounts to we can forget about the Cup and start pulling in a few League points.”
Strangely, against the clubs in the all-London tie there has been little contact in previous seasons.
In fact, there has been no meeting between Sunderland and Chelsea in the FA Cup, in which Chelsea’s name first appeared in the competition proper in 1906-07.
And there has been only one previous meeting against the Arsenal club in its present form, though they beat Royal Arsenal 6-0 in 1892-93 and were beaten 3-0 by Woolwich Arsenal in 1905-06.
The one Sunderland v Arsenal game which did go into the records was as recent as 1960-61, when Sunderland, then as now a Second Division side, finished 2-1 winners in a Third Round tie at Roker Park and went though to the Sixth Round to lose in a White Hart Lane replay against Tottenham, who were on their way to a League and Cup double.
Chelsea or Arsenal v Sunderland at Hillsborough (replay at Old Trafford).
Leeds v Wolves at Maine Road (replay at Goodison Park).
Ties to be played April 7. Replays following mid-week.
Sunderland v Arsenal or Chelsea
Arsenal manager Bertie Mee commented: “We have seen Sunderland quite a few times recently, but we are not really interested until we have played tomorrow night’s quarter-final replay.”
Mr Mee was more concerned with whether he would have striker John Radford fit in time for the Chelsea clash.
“The side which played at Chelsea on Saturday is completely fit, and Jeff Blockley and John Radford are progressing. Radford’s chances of playing are 50-50,” he said.
The Arsenal striker developed a mystery knee injury after the League game at Ipswich ten days ago and missed the game at Stamford Bridge.
A pairing with Arsenal would provide an unusual experience for Sunderland defender Richie Pitt, who early in the year joined Arsenal on loan after losing his place in the Roker first team.
Before he could settle, however, he was recalled when injuries weakened the Sunderland staff. Since then he has re-established himself and played in the Sixth Round defeat of Luton on Saturday.
Referee at Hillsborough will be David Smith, of Gloucester, while Pat Partridge (Middlesbrough) will be in charge of the Leeds-Wolves tie.
Stories taken from the Sunderland Echo on March 19 1973.