SUNDERLAND legend Jimmy Montgomery celebrated his 70th birthday with a special tribute from the club, which renamed the Stadium of Light’s Banqueting Suite in his honour.
The FA Cup-winning hero of 1973 enjoyed a This Is Your Life-style celebration evening in front of former team-mates, family and friends at the newly-named Montgomery Suite on Friday.
BBC sports presenter Jeff Brown hosted a review of Monty’s life and contribution to the club, with former team-mates Johnny Bollands, Dennis Tueart, Nicky Sharkey, Cec Irwin and Dick Malone taking to the stage to offer their memories and congratulations. Also at the gala event were former 1973 team-mates Bobby Kerr, Ritchie Pitt and Micky Horswill, as well as former club captain Gary Bennett and former world champion athlete Steve Cram.
Club chairman Ellis Short sent his own message to the club, saying: “When you consider the heroes of SAFC, Jim Montgomery is right at the peak.
“As our club ambassador, Monty’s place in Sunderland folklore is thoroughly merited and so it is fitting the club mark his recent 70th birthday.”
Jimmy told the Echo: “I’ve been a very lucky man to have been able to play the game I love for as long as I did, and to be involved with the club I love for as long as I have been.
“It was a great night and I’m grateful to the club.
“I’m an emotional person and I just about managed to hold it together on the evening. It was a lovely surprise to see the suite renamed.“
Famous for his double save in the 1973 FA Cup final, Jimmy is the club’s leading appearance-maker – turning out 627 times for the Rokermen.
He was made Club Ambassador two years ago, has been a driving force in the growth of the SAFC Former Players’ Association and hosts a table every matchday with an ex-player as special guest.