How the SAFC chairman Syd Collings played a key role at 1966 World Cup final when England lifted the trophy
The last time England reached a major final, Sunderland AFC’s chairman was right in the thick of things.
At the 1966 World Cup final, Syd Collings presented the captains of England and West Germany, Bobby Moore and Uwe Seeler, to The Queen.
Mr Collings was in charge at the club between 1960 and 1968. He made his money from several businesses, including an interest in Luxdon Laundry based in Sunderland. Born in Gateshead in 1903, he joined the board at Roker Park in 1947.
He was also a significant figure at the FA, becoming a member of the FA Council in 1950 and part of the International Select Committee between 1963 and 1966.
Mr Collings’ influence helped to bring the World Cup to Sunderland. Roker Park staged three Group 4 matches involving Italy, Chile, North Korea and the USSR, as well as a quarter-final between the USSR and Hungary.
His profile rose when FA chairman Joe Mears died from a heart attack on June 30, 1966 – days before the World Cup kicked off. Mears’ stress levels had no doubt been raised in March when he received a ransom note for the stolen Jules Rimet trophy.
Mr Collings retired from the Sunderland board in February 1976 and died three months later. His son, Keith Collings, was SAFC chairman between 1971 and 1980.
Syd Collings’ official 1966 World Cup blazer is on permanent display in the foyer at the Stadium of Light, beside a replica Jules Rimet trophy.
* The squad numbers on the current England squad’s shirts were designed by SAFC senior graphic designer Alex Middleton; another connection between the club and England’s major finals.