Forget energy drinks, a shot of whisky is what you need – ex-Sunderland manager’s unorthodox methods revealed

Egil Austbo pictured outside the Stadium of Light with Jan Skaimsguard Johansen, Henning Frostad, Linda and Elias Erikson.

Egil Austbo pictured outside the Stadium of Light with Jan Skaimsguard Johansen, Henning Frostad, Linda and Elias Erikson.

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A SHOT of whisky was how a Wearside football legend got his Norwegian team psyched up for a match.

Ex-pro Egil Austbo revealed one of Billy Elliott’s unusual methods, used when he played under the ex-Sunderland AFC player and boss at Brann, in Bergen, Norway.

The 65-year-old was one of a group of Norwegians who travelled to the North East to watch Sunderland take on Liverpool and enjoyed a tour of the Stadium of Light.

Egil was captain for the team in 1976 when SK Brann won the Norwegian Cup Championship under Billy’s management and has fond memories of his friend.

“He was a nice person and he was a good coach.

“He understood football and knew how to get the team working together and how to get a collective effort.

“He is very well respected and remembered in Bergen.

“I think winning the cup in 1976 was a highlight of his career.”

Egil said Billy had a special way to get the Norwegian lads geared up.

“He said we needed to get some British courage and so he gave us all a shot of whisky on a tablespoon. We lost that match 4-0, I think.”

Former left-winger Billy made more than 200 appearances for Sunderland in the 1950s, before a brief spell as caretaker manager in 1972.

He remained on the coaching staff under Bob Stokoe until the following year.

It was then that he moved to Brann, where he stayed for four years from 1974 and was Sunderland manager from 1978 to 1979.

As a player, he won five caps for England and was part of the famous Lions of Vienna side which beat Austria in 1952.

The Bradford-born winger, married to Peggy, died in Sunderland in 2008, aged 82.

His funeral was held at St Benet’s Church, in Roker.

Four members of the 1973 FA Cup-winning squad – Dick Malone, Richie Pitt, Mickey Horswill and Jimmy Montgomery – carried the coffin.

Egil said: “I thought a lot of Billy and Peggy. It means a lot to come to Sunderland and see the Stadium of Light.

“Billy was very proud of Sunderland and he had a great sense of humour.”

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