A FOOTBALL memorabilia collector believes he may have bought a title-winning medal belonging to a former Black Cats goalkeeper who played between the sticks more than a century ago.
Michael Ganley recently bought the item, which dates back to the 1901/02 season when Sunderland won the First Division title, from a fellow collector in Liverpool.
Michael, of Ashbrooke, was told that it belonged to a Sunderland player who moved on to Liverpool after playing at Roker Park around the turn of the 20th Century.
After researching squad lists, he narrowed the names down to two, goalkeeper Ned Doig and Joseph Hewitt.
Scotland-born Doig played more than 450 times for Sunderland, winning the First Division title on four occasions before moving to Merseyside.
He died in November, 1919, and is buried at Anfield Cemetery in Liverpool.
Hewitt meanwhile, who was from Chester, played just 37 times for SAFC, scoring 10 goals.
He was to make his name at Liverpool though, providing 60 years of service as a player, winning the title in 1906, a coach and even press box attendant.
He died in 1971.
Speaking about the medal, Michael, who hopes to create a permanent museum for SAFC memorabilia somewhere in Sunderland city centre, told the Echo: “I was speaking to a coin dealer in Chester-le-Street who said I might be interested in buying the medal.
“When he told me about it I said I’d definitely want to and he said he’d got it from a family down in Liverpool.
“We had two players in that team who went on to play for Liverpool, Ned Doig and Joseph Hewitt.
“But Hewitt only signed for Sunderland in March 1902 and played seven games that season, meaning he would not have qualified for a medal.”
Michael now says he wants to track down Doig’s ancestors to verify that it is his medal.
“It’s a very, very historical piece,” added the businessman.
“I’ve talked to a lot of the older supporters like George Forster at Sunderland Supporters’ Club and they all agree that it is probably Doig’s.
“It’s not about the money or how much it’s worth.
“I just want to publicise it and see if somebody in Liverpool can help us to find out for sure.
“Someone, somewhere will know.”
Those who think they can help verify the medal’s authenticity should email Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.