Historic programme unearthed from Sunderland v Liverpool game – which took place just before start of First World War

Jack Stephenson with his SAFC programme for a Sunderland v Liverpool match one hundred years ago.
Jack Stephenson with his SAFC programme for a Sunderland v Liverpool match one hundred years ago.
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A LIFELONG Black Cats fan has unearthed a historic programme from a game which took place at Roker Park just weeks after the First World War broke out.

Pensioner Jack Stephenson stumbled across a copy from the Sunderland v Liverpool game on September 12, 1914, in his wife Jean’s aunt’s home.

The global conflict had broken out just months before in July and would go on to claim more than 15 million lives, before it ended in November 1918.

Mr Stephenson, 86, says that he will be happy to sell the rare programme after being told it could fetch upwards of £600 at auction.

However, he added that he would like to see it kept in Sunderland.

“The programme came from my wife’s aunty and uncle’s house,” explained Mr Stephenson, who lives in Seaham.

“The wife’s brother moved in after the aunt died, but when he left we were clearing out the house and we came across it.

“There’s a mention of why the programme had to double in price from a penny to tuppence, and also why they had to make the programme itself smaller, because of the outbreak of the war.”

Mr Stephenson, along with help from his grandson Jonathan Dickens, 25, has been in talks to sell the item to a city collector, but nothing has yet been decided.

Before a crowd of about 15,000, Sunderland drew the game 2-2 thanks to goals from Jackie Mordue and Charlie Buchan.

They went on to finish eighth in that season’s First Division table.

“I’d like the programme to stay in Sunderland because that’s the right place for it,” added Mr Stephenson, a former SAFC season ticket holder, who worked at Dawdon Colliery for 44 years before retirement.

“With the game being more than 100 years ago now, I can’t think many other people will have a copy. The attendance for the games then weren’t as big as they got after the war. Jonathan’s been in touch with one auction house in Birmingham and one in Liverpool, and they’ve said between £400 and £600.

“Sunderland’s still the first result I look out for on a Saturday.

“I can’t go to the games anymore because I can’t make it up the steps at the Stadium of Light, even though I’d like to.”