The story of a Sunderland legend who starred alongside Hurley, Montgomery and Ashurst

Former Sunderland star Mike Hellawell has published his life story – and it tells of the days when he played in a team filled with Black Cats legends.

Sunday, 15th August 2021, 4:55 am

The pacy winger, who played in the same side as Charlie Hurley and Jimmy Montgomery, has re-lived some of his most cherished days on Wearside in an interview with the Sunderland Echo.

It comes as his story is officially told in a new book called ‘The Impossible is Possible: Keep right on til the end of the road’.

It is available on Amazon at £6 with proceeds going to a pentecostal church in Keighley where Mike now lives.

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Mike Hellawell playing for Sunderland in 1965.

Mike, now 83, still vividly remembers one part of life on Wearside. The Roker Roar was something very special, he said.

He added: “I had signed in January 1965 and Sunderland had just come up from the Second Division with Leeds. The Roker Roar put the opposition off. I could not believe it when I heard it.

"That first season, we were unbeaten at home. George Hardwick was the manager and we had Jimmy Montgomery, Cec Irwin, Len Ashurst, Charlie Hurley, Martin Harvey, George Mulhall, Nick Sharkey, George Herd.”

Mike lived in the Tunstall area and remembered he would ‘sometimes walk to the match with the fans. It was a different ball game in those days.’

Mike Hellawell gets a look around Roker Park after signing for Sunderland.

Another great memory was a 4-1 win over Nottingham Forest and Mike said: “It was one of those days where everything clicked.”

He still keeps in touch with his old Sunderland team mates including Jimmy Montgomery.

His new book has many mentions of Sunderland as well as his other clubs including Huddersfield Town and Birmingham City.

As well as football – ‘I was an old fashioned winger’, said Mike – he also starred as a first class cricketer.

Pictured in action for the Black Cats.

‘The Impossible is Possible: Keep right on til the end of the road’ is described as a the story of an ordinary Yorkshire lad who ended up living the dream; telling the story of his childhood, professional career, post football life, Christian faith and his marriage of more than 60 years.

It is available from Amazon in paperback at £6.

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The Sunderland squad in July 1965, including Mike standing next to Jimmy Montgomery.