EVERYTHING points to Bob Stokoe taking up the appointment of manager of Sunderland in ties to be in charge of their effort against Bristol City at Ashton Gate on Saturday. He will not say so himself but Blackpool chairman, Mr Frank Dickinson, has conceded that they expect to lose him and Sunderland chairman, Mr Keith Collings, accompanied by vice-chairman Jack Ditchbun will be travelling to Blackpool later this week with high hopes of ironing out the final details of the move.
After a three-hour board meeting yesterday, at which Sunderland’s request for permission to approach Mr Stokoe was discussed, Mr Dickinson said it had been agreed that he and his vice-chairman, Mr Clifford Sugar, should arrange a meeting with their Sunderland counterparts as soon as possible. Blackpool’s commitment against Wolves in the quarter-final of the Football League Cup at Molineux tonight has the effect of delaying the meeting.
Mr Dickinson said: “I am disappointed that this situation has arisen, but that’s the way it goes. I have always held this manager in the highest regard and would much rather he stayed with us. These things happen and they will happen again.”
Though keen to take over at Sunderland are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the top level meeting, Mr Stokoe refuses to comment on the situation. “My hands and tongue are tied until after this meeting” he said. “I cannot pre-judge the issue.”
Blackpool are understood to be seeking a measure of compensation for the loss of a manager who still has one year of a three-year contract to run. There is a precedent for it, because they found themselves meeting the same demand when they took Mr Stokoe from Carlisle under similar circumstances two years ago.
Mr Dickinson and Mr Collings have still to agree a time and place for their meeting. Thursday is the popular guess, but Mr Dickinson said this morning he had been kept so busy by Press enquiries that he had not been able to get round to making contact with the Sunderland chairman.
Five of the players who helped Sunderland to their 5-1 win over Rotherham United in the FA Youth Cup last night are names in the Sunderland Reserves side to visit Lincoln City in the a North Midlands League game tomorrow night.
Team: Swinburne, Thompson, Bolton, Ashurst, Pitt, Tones, Shannon, Stronach, Southwick, Hamilton and Park. Substitute, Hepworth. Reserve, Henderson K.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on November 21 1972.