Sunderland fans’ glory days

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THE Roker Roar has been ringing out across Wearside for more than a century – with the highs and lows of Sunderland AFC shared by generations of fans.

A clutch of league championship titles, several trips to Wembley and two FA Cup wins are among the highlights of 135 years of footballing history in the city.

And the hopes and prayers of football fans of all ages will once again rest on the team this Sunday, as the Black Cats take on Manchester City in the Capital One Cup final.

“Wearsiders have been red and white all over for over a century,” said Susan Swinney, photographic archivist for the Echo. “The club is a key part of Sunderland.

“As fans we share the highs and heartaches of each season, the glory or the gloom of every match. It’s a roller-coaster ride of emotions – as these old Echo photos show.”

Sunderland’s low-key launch as a team for teachers in 1879 saw it struggle for survival at first. Within just a few years, however, it was a force to be reckoned with.

Indeed, Sunderland topped the Football League in 1892 just two years after joining, and even became the first-ever winners of the newly created First Division in 1893.

By the mid-1930s the Black Cats had been crowned League champions six times and, in 1937, brought the FA Cup back home for the first time after beating Preston 3-1.

Almost 40 years later, in 1973, the FA Cup returned to Wearside following a 1-0 win over Leeds United, and there have been several trips back down to Wembley since.

“Of course there have been down times along the way but, as a fan, you expect that in football. The club takes the knocks and keeps fighting – as do the fans,” said Susan.

•To order any of the photos, contact Susan on 501 7152.