Sunderland at Wembley: Watch fans share their hopes ahead of League One play-off final clash with Wycombe Wanderers

Sunderland AFC fans have been sharing their hopes – and fears – ahead of tomorrow’s League One play-off final against Wycombe Wanderers.

By Kevin Clark
Friday, 20th May 2022, 1:54 pm

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The Black Cats go into the Wembley clash as favourites – but with Sunderland having come out on top just once at the National Stadium since the famous FA Cup win against Leeds United in 1973, supporters are keeping their feet on the ground.

A group of volunteers from the Fans’ Museum is heading for London today and stopped off at Sunderland’s Vertu Motors dealership on the way.

Jack Clark, from Fatfield, was in the crowd in 1973 and still remembers every moment: “It was a wonderful day, one of the best of my life,” he said.

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"It was so thrilling and exciting – and being at Wembley is a much better feeling when you win.”

He is expecting a victory but taking no chances: “I am confident – but with my fingers crossed, my legs crossed, my arms crossed...everything crossed,” said Jack, 82.

“I have had a lot of disappointment – I have been supporting Sunderland for 70 years now and I have had more disappointment than good days – but you keep on.

"It is in your blood, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

The Fans' Museum team with the good luck message on display outside Vertu Motors' Wessington Way dealership

Rob Hope was just 15 in 1973 but had worked out how best to secure a ticket: “ I went down and bought a ticket for the semi-final for a quid, so my voucher could go into the final ballot,” he said.

“This will be my tenth time at Wembley.”

Rob, 65, who works for Nike, was wearing a shirt signed by the 1985 League Cup squad and even though the Black Cats lost, it reminds him of a happy memory of the National Stadium: “Gary Rowell was playing for Norwich and he came over to the Sunderland fans at the end,” he said.

“The fans were all singing his name.”

Jack Clark in the shirt Kevin Phillips wore on the day he scored his 30th goal in a single Premier League season

Taxi driver Andy Parkin, 49, is making no predictions after play-off final disappointment against Charlton in 2019.

Sunderland lost 2-1, despite the Addicks gifting them a lead with an own goal out of nothing after barely five minutes: “They scored in the 95th minute – it was a bit of a kick in the teeth,” said Andy.

"I am optimistic and excited and looking forward to experiencing the Wembley atmosphere again.

“It should be a good game. It will be interesting to see how the teams play in a game with VAR and a referee with Premier League experience – Wycombe might have to change their style of play.

Andy Parkin

“I am not going to say we should win because I would never say Sunderland should win – I have been a Sunderland fan for far too long to ever say that.”

Museum founder Michael Ganley is predicting a win and doesn’t much care how it happens: “I am feeling very confident,” he said.

"I fancy a 3-0 win, but to be honest, if it it goes in off the back of the ref’s head or we get an own goal and we win 1-0, I’m not bothered.

“But I think the lads have got it in them. Let’s just get the job done and give the fans what they want and deserve.”

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Rob Hope poses in a shirt signed by the 1985 League Cup final team
Jack Clark and Michael Ganley in original Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn shirts