Play-it-cool plea at tonight’s reception

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SUNDERLAND police today appealed to Wearsiders to take up vantage points along the whole route of tonight’s welcome home parade for the town’s F.A. Cup winning team – and not to besiege Roker Park.

“The ground only holds 53,000 and we are expecting upwards of 200,000 people to be taking part in the proceedings,” said a police spokesman.

“It will be ridiculous for them all to converge on Roker Park because there will be no room for them all in the ground and the surrounding streets.

“The open coach will be travelling at walking pace on the 1½-mile route through the town centre and we appeal to the fans to spread themselves out along these pavements where they will be able to see the team and the F.A. Cup without too much crush.”

Hundreds of extra police will be on duty in the town tonight for the biggest turn-out of people in the streets since Sunderland played Manchester United in a cup-tie replay nine years ago.

Lap of honour

After the street tour the players will be welcomed at Roker Park by the Mayor (Coun. Leslie Watson) before the trophy is brought on to the field and carried round as the players do their lap of honour.

Exiled Wearsiders from all parts of the country were travelling home today to join the victory throng after ringing the Echo to find out the arrangements for the procession.

Houghton police also appealed to the public today to be calm and patient when Cup heroes drive into the town at about 7pm.

A spokesman said “With the roadworks going on in Houghton, things could be a little more difficult than they would otherwise be. We ask sightseers to be careful particularly where there are children, and motorists to be patient if delays occur.

Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on May 8, 1973.