SAFC charity The Foundation of Light, fanzine A Love Supreme and the University of Sunderland team-up for FA Cup fiftieth anniversary exhibition
Sunderland’s official charity The Foundation of Light has teamed up with the city’s university to showcase an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia to mark the fiftieth anniversary of SAFC’s historic FA cup win and they are calling on the help of Black Cats supporters.
It was May 5, 1973 when Bob Stokoe wearing his trilby hat made that famous run across the hallowed Wembley turf as SAFC overcame Leeds United thanks to an Ian Porterfield goal and ‘that’ double save from from Jimmy Montgomery.
The run also included a famous 2-1 semi-final victory over Arsenal at Hillsborough and a 3-1 fifth round round win over Manchester City when over 50,000 supporters packed into Roker Park – described by many older fans as the best atmosphere ever experienced at the old stadium.
The University of Sunderland is now calling those same supporters to come forward with photos, memorabilia, scrapbooks and equally as important their own recollections of SAFC’s greatest post-war achievement.
Also teaming up for The People’s Visual History of the 1973 FA Cup exhibition is SAFC fanzine A Love Supreme.
The exhibition is being led by internationally renowned photographer and football artist Julian Germain, who also works as a visiting professor at the University of Sunderland.
Julian said: “Snapshot photographs as well as other creative endeavours such as home-made banners, scarves or scrapbooks seldom get published or exhibited so they very rarely get seen, but they offer a valuable and distinctive viewpoint from the more familiar images produced by the press, as well as fantastic images and objects that capture the emotions and experiences of the time.
“Perhaps you have a picture of yourself during that cup run, maybe at Notts County in the third round or at Hillsbrough in the semi-final against Arsenal, or maybe your family was gathered around the neighbour’s colour telly to watch the final. Or it could just be you or your mum or granfather proudly wearing a replica Sunderland shirt, or waving a banner or scarf at the victory parade.”
If you do, then Julian is urging you to bring them to the project team’s first event on Saturday, March 18, 12.30pm at the Beacon of Light.
Paul Dobson, who attended the final and is now co-editor of A Love Supreme, said: “We are thrilled to be a partner on the project as it will provide the opportunity for the biggest single event in history of the club, and a huge one for the city, to be viewed and remembered afresh.
"Since A Love Supreme began offering fans’ opinions to the football world in 1989, the FA Cup in 1973 has loomed large in our contributions – even from those who weren’t alive at the time - and we look forward to celebrating those memories and seeing what else is unearthed in the form of personal photos and memorabilia.
“To see these memories and images collected during the project’s various events will be special, and they will be collected and featured in a special book to be published later this year, ensuring that those memories will not fade.”
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Co-ordinator of the Coals to Goals heritage project at the Foundation of Light, Alyson Dixon, added: “The 1973 FA Cup was a special occasion for the club and the city, and this project will be a great way of unearthing and preserving people's memories of the event.”
The exhibition is being funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund with an accompanying book showcasing the memorabilia and memories set to be published by Autumn 2023, with free copies circulated to schools, care homes and libraries.
Amanda Ritson, programme manager at the North East Photography Network, based at the University’s Northern Centre of Photography, St Peter’s Campus, said: “We are hugely grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and players of the National Lottery for supporting our project which uniquely brings together a range of different partners and allows the University to develop deeper relationships with communities in the city and surrounding coalfields.
“The project seeks to bring together materials lovingly preserved or passed down to be celebrated in exhibition and book form, so that this collective heritage is conserved for future generations.”
One of the stands which will house the exhibition has been created by volunteers from Hendon charity Back on the Map's Men’s Shed group which helps men’s wellbeing through a range of gardening and woodwork classes.
In addition to the Beacon of Light, the display will also tour other locations across the city which are yet to be confirmed.