Sunderland 1973 FA Cup heroes proposed for Freedom of the City

SAFC’s 1973 FA Cup heroes are set to get the Freedom of the City to celebrate the pride and glory they brought to Sunderland.

Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 11:03 am
File photo dated 05-05-1973 of Sunderland's captain Bobby Kerr held aloft by his teammates Billy Hughes and goalkeeper Jim Montgomery after their FA Cup Final victory against Leeds United at Wembley Stadium. PA Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 5, 2020.

Sunderland has a long-running tradition of honouring citizens who make ‘significant contributions to the wellbeing and community spirit of Sunderland’, be they residents or those from outside the city who have served Wearside in some way, and the cup final team are the latest proposed for Freedom of the City.

In 1974 the council conferred an Honorary Freedom to team manager Robert 'Bob' Stokoe.

Since then the team’s goalkeeper James 'Jimmy' Montgomery BEM, received the Honorary Freedom of the City in 12 May 2016.

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He received it “as a token of the honour and esteem in which he is held by the citizens of Sunderland and in recognition of the example of achievement he sets to the city’s young people and his personal contribution to the wellbeing of the city and people of Sunderland”.

Now winning team members Richard Philip ‘Dick’ Malone, Ronald George ‘Ron’ Guthrie, Michael Frederick ‘Micky’ Horswill, David Vernon ‘Dave’ Watson, Richard Ernest ‘Ritchie’ Pitt, Robert ‘Bobby’ Kerr, Victor Lewis ‘Vic’ Halom, Dennis Tueart, and David Young are all named in a report proposing the honour, which will go before Sunderland City Council’s ruling cabinet for approval.

Two members of the team, William ‘Billy’ Hughes and John Ian Porterfield have passed away. The report states that it is still appropriate to recognise and honour the pair alongside their teammates.

Their families will be invited to receive the honour on their behalf if the award is approved.Subject to next week's meeting and Covid restrictions, a ceremony will be confirmed at a later date. Cabinet is examining the proposal at its meeting on Tuesday 13 October.Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "To be able to formally recognise the achievement of Sunderland’s 1973 FA Cup winning team would be an honour for so many people."The enduring pride and respect that the people of Sunderland hold for the team is a testament to everything they have done and continue to do for this city."The report to the cabinet outlines how Sunderland AFC were victorious in the FA Cup Final on 5 May 1973.The Division Two side faced Division One’s Leeds United, who were the FA Cup holders as well as playing in their third final in four seasons.

Sunderland won 1–0 in front of a crowd of 100,000 fans. They became the first Division Two side to lift the Cup since West Bromwich Albion in 1931.The win remains the last significant trophy that Sunderland AFC has won.Other freedoms of Sunderland granted to date include John Hays founder of Hays Travel, Nissan’s chief performance officer Trevor Mann, Niall Quinn MBE and Joël Batteux the Mayor of Sunderland's twin-town St Nazaire.Television reporter Kate Adie has also been granted Freedom of the City. Freedoms have also gone to 4 Regiment Royal Artillery - the 'North East gunners', 3 Rifles and the crew of HMS Ocean, which was Sunderland's adopted warship and the Royal Navy's largest ship for many years.

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