ONE MAN with connections to Sunderland and Everton who I’m sure will have more than a passing interest in Saturday’s game is Peter Reid.
His roles at the two clubs were different, having been a player in one of Everton’s most successful eras and enjoying some great years as manager of Sunderland.
I still look back on the years when Reid was Sunderland manager as a golden era
I first became aware of Reid in the late 1970s when we had some great battles with Bolton – the club he started out with.
I got to know him better when we went on an England Under-21 tour to Scandinavia and from then on, I looked forwards to meeting up with him for a drink in the players’ lounge after any game when we faced each other and he was always lively company.
Reidy was tough and competitive, never giving an inch and in a time when you could get away with far more of the physical stuff than you can today, he knew just how far to push the boundaries.
But he could play too; England caps, playing in a World Cup and winning trophies for Everton proved that in a stand-out career.
When he went into management, I wasn’t surprised he ended up at Sunderland, as he often referred to a game at Roker Park he played in for Bolton when we won promotion and the atmosphere created by over 50,000 was electric.
I still look back on the years when Reid was Sunderland manager as a golden era, especially that four-year period starting with the heartbreaking Wembley play-off defeat, followed by the record-breaking promotion year that led to two seventh placed finishes in the top flight.
Okay, it didn’t end well, but when does it ever at Sunderland?
But for a time under Reid, Sunderland were a force in the Premier League and going to the Stadium of Light for each home game was exciting and more often than not brought goals and three points.
Looking at Sunderland over recent years and the constant hiring and firing of managers, what we’d give for the stability and relative success we had for a time under Reid.
Not everything Reidy did at Sunderland worked out – especially some of his signings towards the end of his reign – and I know he wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but even his biggest critics would have to say that he’s left a big impression on the history of two great football clubs, and not many can say that.