Sunderland AFC deserve better

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So sorry to see that the club’s been relegated after flirting with the drop for a few years now.

Although I’m not an active Sunderland follower any more, it’s the result I always look for first on Final Score on Saturdays.

I remember as a schoolboy my hero uncle George Curtis was trainer/coach with the club in the 60s.

The manager was Alan Brown and what a team of characters he had then.

The schoolboy goalkeeper, Jim Montgomery, who is the same age as me, went on to win the FA Cup with that sensational 70s team in 1973.

The centre half rock Charlie Hurley introduced the idea for tall defenders going up for corners. Then there was George Mullhall and Nicky Sharkey and, of course, the legendary Brian Cough, who started his managerial career up the road at Hartlepool.

Whenever they played in London my father would take me along to see them and George would let me wander around the changing rooms afterwards collecting autographs.

I was always astonished at the attendances in Roker Park accompanied, of course, by the famous ‘Roker Roar’.

I’ve lived in Reading for a number of years and I recall seeing Sunderland play at Elm Park in front of our maximum attendance of 13,000. My abiding memory was in January 1963 when my local non-league team of Gravesend and Northfleet (now Ebbsfleet) hosted the Wearsiders in a fourth round FA cup match. It was touch and go as to whether the match would go ahead as we were in one of the worst winters in history and the touchlines had piles of snow on all sides. The ‘Fleet’ nearly pulled off a shock win but it finished 1-1. I must have been the only boy wearing a Sunderland rosette.

Apart from the surprise FA cup win in 1973 history hasn’t been king to the North East teams. The area is a footballing cauldron with so much pride. It shouldn’t have been that way – you deserve better.

Martin Curtis