Stokoe hoping for early start in player quest

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SUNDERLAND manager Mr Bob Stokoe finds himself compelled to take a hard line on countless invitations to social engagements in order to get down to the job of handling the club’s playing affairs. And though the celebrations of the Wembley triumph, which are now in their fourth week, will go on for a long time yet, he would like to think that he will be less involved personally as time goes on.

He plans a get-away-from-it-all break in mid-June and then a relaxing trip to follow the British Open Golf Championship at Troon in July before setting his stall for the return of the player to full-time training on July 23.

But before the well-earned break he hopes to make progress in the task he has set himself of extending his first team pool by signing two or three player.

“I’ll do it my way” he says “and I’ll be moving as quickly and as quietly as I can.” He will be making no contribution to the guessing game which has been going on ever since it became clear that his chairman and directors were prepared to back him in any move he wants to make in the transfer market.

“If there is to be a starting point, you could say it will be at the annual meeting of the Football League in London on Friday. There will be the chance to talk to a lot of people and we can go on from there.”

Hardy annual

One further issue arises at the weekend, with Sunderland’s hardy annual application for membership of the Central League due to come up for consideration. In previous seasons this application has been made hopefully, but with little confidence. What a pleasant surprise it would be for all concerned if this year acceptance should be a further bonus for that Wembley triumph!

Dennis Tueart, who undergoes a minor operation to correct varicose veins, will be out and about again in ten days.

Some weeks ago there was talk of Mr Stokoe having a minor operation for a long-term injury, but he now says: “I don’t think this is going to be necessary. Arthur Cox has taken a lot of weight from me in training sessions and the injury has settled down so well that I think it is going to clear up without an operation. The rest which I am now able to give it should sort it out nicely.”

With that off his mind, he can now settle down to the well-defined steps which led him up to the start of next season. With a little extra consideration from well-wishes he is hoping that it will become a little easier to make progress.

Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on May 29, 1973.