MANAGER Bob Stokoe swings into action this afternoon in his effort to land one of the players he has earmarked for his Sunderland recovery plan. Following a midday meeting with the Sunderland board he said: “I have been authorised by my chairman, Mr Keith Collings, to make what I would term a substantial offer to Derby County for the signature of John O’Hare. It is now my intention to search out Mr Brian Clough, the Derby County manager, and make that offer.”
Whether Derby County have any intention of parting with O’Hare has still to be determined, despite the typically glib reply which Mr Clough gave to Sunderland’s first approach at the week-end. He inferred then that all Derby players are available at a price and his valuation of O’Hare will certainly be vastly higher than the £225,000 County paid for the Scot when they signed him from Sunderland in 1967.
But Mr Stokoe, who has promised that he will build at the right time and on the right lines, sees no complications. “We’ll play it straight down the line,” he said. “I have the authority of the board to make my offer and will waste to time over putting it before Mr Clough.”
O’Hare, who took his first step towards fame as a 17-year-old in November, 1963, when as a late substitute he scored a brilliant individual goal against Benfica at Roker Park, became the victim of indiscipline among senior players when he was made available for transfer in August, 1967.
Sunderland’s loss was Derby County’s gain and O’Hare who has since collected seven full caps for Scotland in the Home International Championship and has gained Second and First Division championship medals with Derby County is at 26 a player of considerable stature.
At the beginning of the season he had missed only four appearances out of a possible 168 with Derby County, but in recent months the emergence of Roger Davies, as a centre forward of great potential has led to O’Hare being switched into midfield. It was from this position that he scored the goal which gave County a point at Chelsea on Saturday.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on January 2 1973.