Former club striker dies

SUNDERLAND's promotion celebrations have been tempered by the death of one of the club's former strikers.

South African-born centre-forward Ted Purdon spent three seasons at Roker Park when the Black Cats were known as the "Bank of England" club for paying top fees for players.

Purdon scored 42 goals in 96 appearances in the red and white jersey, including two on his debut against Cardiff City in January 1954 and a memorable hat-trick in a stunning 4-1 victory at Arsenal a week later.

Ted, 77, who ended his playing career in Canada and settled in Toronto, died at the weekend after watching Sunderland's Friday night victory over Burnley at a supporters' club in the city.

He had visited Wearside several times since leaving the club and had been planning to return next season to watch the Black Cats in the Premiership.

George Foster, of Sunderland AFC Supporters' Association, recalled Ted's last visit to the Stadium of Light.

"He brought over a plaque from the supporters' association in Canada. We have got it on the wall now," he said.

"Ted always kept a soft spot for Sunderland and it was lovely to hear these lads talking about the club in their Canadian accents."

George remembered Ted Purdon as a model professional and who had been appreciated for his wholehearted effort and workrate.

"I think that you will always be remembered if you play your heart out for the club," he said.

Jack Higginson, chairman of the Black Cats of North America, said: "He suffered a stroke on Friday. He was at Scallywags, a Restaurant and bar in Toronto to watch the Sunderland/Burnley match with us. Ted was the club president

"Just a few minutes after the game ended Ted suffered the stroke. His vital signs were revived by paramedics but he was in a deep coma and passed away peacefully on Sunday."