Sunderland AFC were formed a year later than believed, says author

Author and historian Paul Days, who claims Sunderland AFC were formed in 1880 - a year later than it is widely believed.
Author and historian Paul Days, who claims Sunderland AFC were formed in 1880 - a year later than it is widely believed.
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An author and historian has claimed that Sunderland AFC was created almost a year later than traditionally accepted.

Black Cats supporter Paul Days, who has written a number of football books on the Wearsiders and other clubs, says that following research of old newspapers, including the Echo, he has found the team actually originates from 1880 and not 1879.

The Sunderland Daily Echo cutting which Paul says proves SAFC were formed in 1880.

The Sunderland Daily Echo cutting which Paul says proves SAFC were formed in 1880.

As part of a new book expected to be published later this year entitled Founding Fathers – The Men Who Made Sunderland AFC, the 54-year-old states that Monday, September 27, 1880, is the first known mention of the club in the Echo.

The book reads: “There were copious column inches of print devoted to rugby, and even when the association football club was formed and started to play its first matches, the Echo was still overwhelmingly filled with reports and accounts of rugby matters.

“It took time for the association game to establish itself in the town of Sunderland.

“However, on Monday, 27 September 1880 there was a critical announcement, as far as the formation of SAFC is concerned, detailed in the Sunderland Daily Echo.

You can see how this game of Chinese whispers started.

Author Paul Days

“It read as follows: SUNDERLAND AND DISTRICT TEACHERS’ FOOTBALL CLUB.

“The teachers of Sunderland and district have formed a football club and the office bearers have been appointed as follows: Captain and treasurer, Mr Singleton; Vice Captain, Mr Allan; Secretary, Mr Elliot, 4 Rudland Terrace; Committee, messrs Gibbons, Chappell, Coates and Sewell”.

“It is clear that the date usually given for the formation of Sunderland AFC, October 1879, is factually incorrect.

“In an evidence-based world we can now establish that SAFC were in fact formed on or around Monday, September 27, 1880.”

Mr Days, who wrote the Official History of Sunderland AFC in 1999, also claims that the mistake has become fact after a potted history of the club was printed in the Echo less than a decade after the club was formed.

“In December 1887 a history of Sunderland Football Club started to be chronicled in the Echo,” added Mr Days, of Chester-le-Street.

“The journalist writes that he only had little more than 24 hours to research this before it went to print, and what he says is that the club was formed towards the end of the 1879-1880 season.

“The article was consolidated and sold as a history of the club, but it was strewn with errors.

“What has also bugged historians is if Sunderland were formed in 1879, then why was the club’s first game in October 1880?

“You can see how this game of Chinese whispers started.”

Sunderland AFC declined to comment on Mr Days’ claims.