Latest Frank Styles mural honours 1973 FA Cup hero Jimmy Montgomery - this is where you can see it
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Frank Styles’ distinctive pieces can be seen around the city, from butterflies in Sunniside and shipyards in Panns Bank to Raich Carter in Hendon and a pictoral ode to miners in Silksworth.
Now, his latest piece, a 10m by 15m celebration of Black Cat goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery, is nearing completion on the side of The Times Inn pub, in the shadow of the Queen Alexandra Bridge.
The former Black Cat himself has been along to check out the artwork in Southwick, the area of the city where Jimmy was raised and lived until he was 34.
Admiring the piece, which will be finished in the coming weeks, Jimmy said: “I think it’s absolutely brilliant. I have many happy memories of Southwick, growing up with my mam and dad, and then marrying at St Hilda’s Church. I didn’t come to the pub when I was younger, but that’s just because I wasn’t a pub man, I was always into sport. Otherwise, I imagine I’d be drinking there with my friends.
"I’ve taken lots of photos of the mural today to show my wife and I’ll be coming down a lot when it’s finished.”
The piece follows Frank’s large-scale depiction of former Black Cat Bobby Gurney, which was unveiled on the side of The Golden Fleece in Silksworth over the summer.
The artist said: “I used one photo of Jimmy for him, but around six historical photos for the background. I’ve also been looking into the FA Cup so I can give it more detail as it’s quite glared out in the original photo.
"It’s been great having Jimmy here today, especially as I’ve been able to ask him about details, such as the colour of his socks in the photo as it’s black and white.
"1973 is such an important chapter in Sunderland’s history. Even though I was born nine years after that date, at the other end of the country, I still know what it means when I hear that date, and how much it means to Sunderland.”
The mural was paid for by a crowdfunding campaign, led by publican Steve Lawson, who took over the historic pub in June.
He’s invested £10,000 in refurbishing the pub, which dates back to 1854, and honouring its history with old photographs of the shipyards and SAFC players throughout the years on the walls.
He’d been thinking of installing a mural outside the pub for months, and was initially going to depict Gary Rowell, but members of Southwick Village Green Preservation Society suggested Jimmy Montgomery would be more fitting.
In just nine days, the Crowdfunding campaign raised £4,500, with 10% being donated to the city’s Veterans in Crisis charity.
Steve said: “I’m from Castletown, so I’m not a Suddicker, but the more I thought about it and chatted with my mates, it made perfect sense to have Jimmy on the pub.
"It fits with what we’ve done inside, which sticks close to the heritage of the area. The history group wanted a statue of Jimmy on the Green, but it was going to be very expensive, so it’s great that we can honour a local legend here.”