Sunderland fans give thumbs-up to plan for King Charlie statue

Martin ONeill wants to build a statue of Charlie Hurley in Sunderland.

Martin ONeill wants to build a statue of Charlie Hurley in Sunderland.

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Sunderland fans have been giving their support to proposals to build a statue of club legend Charlie Hurley.

As reported in yesterday’s Echo, city businessman Martin O’Neill and friends will be canvassing fellow Black Cats fans this weekend about the possibility of creating a lasting monument to a player known as ‘The King’ during his Roker Park days.

Sunderland's Charlie Hurley in action against Leeds United's John Charles.

Sunderland's Charlie Hurley in action against Leeds United's John Charles.

Martin believes a statue to the former centre-half would be a fitting tribute to a man celebrating his 80th birthday later this year.

An informal meeting about the proposal will be held at St Mary’s Church Hall, in Bridge Street, after Saturday’s home game with Manchester United when those interested in supporting the appeal are asked to attend.

And Echo readers were quick to give the idea backing on our website.

Black and tan wrote: “My most vivid memories of Charlie Hurley were his incredible heading ability and delicate ball control for such a big man.

“Every corner kick won he would be up there with 2-3 defenders hanging on to his back but he somehow shrugged them off and got his head to the ball, always panic amongst the opposition defence.

“Strangely, I cannot ever remember us being awarded a penalty for the blatant fouls committed in the desperation to hold him down. He usually managed around eight goals a season so not only was he a key defender he was also a vital part of our attack.”

Mackemmiff posted: “I would support this push for a statue 100%. We do not have much to be proud of as Sunderland fans, so we should celebrate The King.

“I never saw him play, am too young, but I have had the honour of meeting him and you literally shake in his presence, a man of stature and grace, a true gentleman. Must be done while we still have the privilege of seeing Charlie unveil the statue and show him just how much he means to ALL Sunderland fans!!”

Anthony Mitchell added: “Great idea, should have been done years ago!! Loved the man in the sixties at Roker Park. Gets my vote !!”

Samsonthecat said: “Just a shame that “King Charlie” isn’t a good few years younger, for how we could do with someone like him in our defence at present!”

Proposals for the statue were welcomed by the man himself, who was voted Player of the Century by fans for the service he gave the club between 1957 and 1969.

“I would love it,” said Cork-born Charlie, who was capped 40 times by the Republic of Ireland, “as long as they make me look good.

“It doesn’t get much better than that as a footballer. Sunderland, to me, was immense.

“It was a big chunk of my life and I loved the place.”