JOHN Hughes, the 29-year-old former Scottish international centre forward and winger, is on his way to Sunderland to discuss terms for his transfer from Crystal Palace. The go-ahead for the deal was given Palace manager Mr Bert Head when he told Manager Bob Stokoe that Sunderland’s offer of about £35,000 was acceptable.
Mr Stokoe, who spoke to both Mr Head and Hughes this morning, expects the player to arrive later this afternoon and hopes to reach agreement with him so that Hughes can sign and then stay on to take part in training sessions for the rest of the week before making his debut against Millwall at Roker Park on Saturday.
Hughes, elder brother of Sunderland’s in-form striker, Billy, must be everyone’s idea of the big bustling forward supporters have been dreaming for years. At 6ft. 1in., and 14st., he is still a fast-moving player with shooting power which brought him over 100 goals for Glasgow Celtic before his transfer to Crystal Palace 15 months ago.
Mr Stokoe, who submitted the offer for Hughes after a series of meetings with his directors yesterday, said: “He is a big, strong player and can do a job for us by filling a gap at the front. Unfortunately, he is Cup-tied, but that can’t be helped. We still have a lot of important matches to play.
“This will not be the end, though, if the deal goes through. I still want another forward and we are on the look-out. I’ll probably go for a younger one next time and this signing would give us breathing space while we are looking round.”
Hughes, whose desire to move North again is well know, joined Crystal Palace in a £50,000 package deal along with Willie Wallace in October, 1971. Wallace has since returned to Scotland signing for Dumbarton for £20,000.
He was told first thing this morning that terms had been agreed between the clubs. Mr Head said: “I expect to hear later whether he has signed, although you can never tell in these matters.”
Hughes’s last appearance at Roker Park was in a pre-season friendly on August 7, 1965, when he gave a brilliant display and scored one of the goals which helped Celtic to a resounding 5-0 victory in front of a 36,700 crowd.
Roker games rearranged
Sunderland have agreed provisional dates for their postponed home League games against Carlisle United and Huddersfield Town. If there is no replay for either club in their FA Cup (Fourth Round) ties, Carlisle will be at Roker Park on Tuesday, February 6, and if there should be no Cup complications after the Fifth Round, Huddersfield will play there on Wednesday, February 28.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on January 23 1973.