Black Cats supporters are being asked to take their seats early as Sunderland AFC recognises its player of the century this weekend.
Designated as ‘Charlie Hurley Day’, the former club captain, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, will be introduced to the Stadium of Light crowd before kick-off for Saturday’s home game against Hull City. Former Republic of Ireland international Charlie will be joined on the pitch by his 1963-64 promotion-winning colleagues Cecil Irwin, Len Ashurst, Martin Harvey, Brian Usher, George Herd, Johnny Crossan, Stan Anderson and Jim Montgomery.
The former players will be heralded onto the pitch by the traditional ‘Z Cars’ theme tune just a few minutes prior to kick off, and fans will be able to show their appreciation to Charlie and his team-mates.
Now based in Hertfordshire, this will be Charlie’s first visit to the Stadium of Light in a decade and he will be joined by family members, including his children and grandchildren.
Fans will also be able to see the Charlie Hurley gates for the first time, which will be located at the south side of the stadium.
Previously marking the entrance to the club’s former training ground, the gates have been given a new home at the stadium in honour of Charlie’s 80th birthday.
A crowd-surfer flag bearing Charlie’s image will make its debut before kick off, and clap-banners featuring Charlie’s name and image are to be distributed throughout the stadium.
Voted the Player of the Century in the club’s centenary year of 1979, Charlie continues to be revered by Sunderland supporters young and old.