SUNDERLAND footballing hero Jimmy Montgomery was back at the Black Cats ground for a special honour.
Famed for his double save against Leeds United in the 1973 FA Cup Final, Jimmy was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the University of Sunderland in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Sunderland Football Club and his support for the city.
After making a record 627 appearances for his hometown club, the university said it was only fitting that Jimmy received his award at the Stadium of Light where the graduation ceremonies took place.
He said: “To receive an honorary fellowship from the University of Sunderland is a tremendous honour, it really is, I’m overwhelmed really.
“It is a great day and experience and it makes it all that more special that I am receiving such an award at the Stadium of Light, the home of Sunderland AFC.”
Jimmy said he was “absolutely flabbergasted” when he found out what the university had in store for him and it didn’t sink in for weeks. He said being honoured was a very proud moment for him and his family as well.
University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Fidler, said: “Jimmy has made highly significant contributions within football and will inspire our graduates as they celebrate their academic success.”
It wasn’t just Sunderland where the ’keeper won silverware, he was called by his old Wearside teammate, Brian Clough, to join Nottingham Forest, where in 1980 he won a European Cup Winners’ Medal.
Jimmy said: “One of the best accolades I ever had, to be asked at 36 to be on hand to replace Peter Shilton.”
However, he will always be known for his double save at the home of football in the FA Cup Final, first diving down to deflect a header, then springing up acrobatically to push away a close-range second shot. It stands among the greatest moments of old Wembley Stadium and the masterstroke secured him lasting fame among fans and helped bring him many awards.
In 2012 the club made him their first official ambassador, to be a host on match days, represent Sunderland AFC at outside events and develop the Former Players’ Association.
Margaret Byrne, chief executive, said there was no one better to do it, adding: “Jimmy is Sunderland through and through, a true gentleman and a hugely respected figure in the whole football world.”