SUNDERLAND Manager Mr Bob Stokoe took time off from his single-minded task of getting his players into the right groove for the FA Cup Semi-Final against Arsenal on Saturday to show disapproval in no uncertain terms about the hope expressed by Newcastle United centre froward Malcolm Macdonald that “Sunderland will meet with glorious failure against Arsenal” to further United’s hopes of qualifying for the EUFA Cup next season.
Mr Stokoe said he was “sickened and shattered” by these remarks. “If Newcastle are not good enough to finish in the top four on their own legs then they are not good enough to go into Europe,” he said.
“As a former Newcastle player who still glows of the memories of great days at St James’s Park, I know my former team-mate manager Joe Harvey, will not support Macdonald’s remarks.”
The morning’s mail brought Mr Stokoe a complete how-to-beat-Arsenal dossier from club representatives Peter Doherty and Peter Croker, who have carried out extensive checks on Arsenal’s form.
“We have our own ideas of course, but this run-down will be a tremendous help. It’s contents will certainly come up for discussion during the hour or so team talk we have been having this afternoon.”
Mick Horswill returned to training for this morning’s session at Templefield on the outskirt of Buxton and afterwards Mr Stokoe said: “It looks pretty certain that Mick will be all right and that we will be able to turn out the full Cup side on Saturday. This is how it look at the moment and I’m quite confident!
Waiting for confirmation of Horswill’s fitness has a bearing upon another decision still to be taken. David Young, who would have been called upon if Horswill had been compelled to stand down, has 12 penalty points against his name and would not be available for the Cup tie unless an appeal is lodged before Saturday.
It now seem probable that no appeal will be made and that Young will take his two game suspension and come back to help in the congested League programme.
An unexpected bonus from last night’s trip to see Stoke City beat Ipswich Town 1-0 was that a late change of referee brought Mr David Smith of Gloucester into the middle, as he will also have charge of Hillsborough semi-final this was an opportunity to judge how well the game will be controlled. The signs are promising.
“He is one of our better referees,” said Mr Stokoe. “There is no double about that. He is the sort of referee who makes you feel you will get a fair crack of the whip which is always important in a match like this.”
Mr Stokoe had further reason to welcome Horswill’s return to training for, feeling sore after a ground of golf in sever conditions yesterday, he was able to stand down from this morning’s eight-a-side practice game and instead took over as referee.
Vic Halom and Richie Pitt were the scorers in a lively game.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on April 5 1973.