Following in the footsteps of Wearside footballing greatness, members of a Sunderland Sunday League team are aiming for glory.
Descendants of Sunderland AFC legend and England international Horatio “Raich” Carter have taken over the running of a pub side whose home pays tribute to the iconic player.
Alan Carter, who is the grandson of Raich’s cousin Robina, will be running Hendon Athletic out of the Blue House pub, just off Corporation Road.
Hendon-born Raich famously captained his hometown club to the 1936 league championship and was at that time the youngest player to skipper such a team.
A year later, the inside forward scored in the FA Cup final as the Lads beat Preston North End 3-1 to bring the trophy back to Wearside for the first time. He died in 1994.
Recently, his memory was immortalised by city artist Frank Styles, who, as part of the Grafters’ Gables project, created a striking mural of Raich in the famous red and white stripes on one of the Blue House’s outside walls.
This is a symbolic place which has been made even better now.Alan Carter, manager of Hendon Athletic
Alan, who has been appointed manager after taking a two-year break, said: “When I first saw it I was really impressed. I didn’t know it was going to happen, but it makes you proud because of what he achieved for Sunderland.
“If you see any pictures of the family on my dad’s side, they all have the same look like Raich.
“My dad is no longer with us, but we put a photo up on Facebook and you can see the similarities.
“When we were young lads growing up and playing football, it wasn’t exactly drummed into us that we were related to Raich, but we were always told about him.
“It was a big event in Hendon when he passed away because he was such a hero.”
As well as Alan being involved with the side, his half-brother Dave and brother Brian will be playing, alongside cousins Anthony and Paul.
“We’re starting off in the fourth division as a new team but we’re confident of getting up the leagues quite quickly,” added Alan, who is from Hendon, but now lives in Pallion.
“Give us a few seasons and we will get up there.”
Michael Ganley, who is trying to create a permanent home in the city to house SAFC-related memorabilia, kindly brought along a replica FA Cup like the one Raich was handed by the Queen Mother at Wembley.
Pictures inside the watering hole include shots of the victorious Sunderland sides Raich was part of, as well as snaps of him in later life.
“This is a symbolic place which has been made even better now,” said Alan, whose team begin their league campaign on August 16.
“We can’t wait to start playing out of here.”
l Anyone who wants to keep up with the progress of the team can like “Hendon Athletic FC” on Facebook.