Rowell Report: No-one deserved Fulwell salute more than Monty!

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
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JIM Montgomery’s 70th birthday last month is a landmark that I can’t let pass.

When I was a kid going to Roker Park to watch my Sunderland heroes with my friends, it was the highlight of our week.

And seeing Monty in his green jersey is an iconic image fans of my age will recall clearly.

To be honest, in those years, Jim often carried the team and we were used to him producing saves that often defied gravity.

Sunderland’s all-time appearance holder, his record will never be beaten, and one of those games, at Wembley in 1973 was Monty at his very best.

I was right behind the goal that day and like everybody else I thought Leeds had equalised but Sunderland’s keeper was inspired and pulled off Wembley’s greatest ever double save.

That moment was when the cup was won, as the belief just surged through the team and fans and we knew that Monty was not going to be beaten that day.

Sunderland have had some great goalkeepers over the years, Simon Mignolet, Thomas Sorensen and Chris Turner being some of my favourites.

But Jim Montgomery stands above them all for his great ability and longevity.

I was just breaking through into the team as Monty was nearing the end of his Sunderland career but he would always be there with help and advice.

I remember when he came back to play us with his new club Birmingham City and before the game, instead of the usual Sunderland songs, the Fulwell End continually sang Jimmy Monty songs, such was his popularity.

Not only was he a great player but he is a great bloke as well and now, as the club’s ambassador, he is still making a contribution and has a role to play at Sunderland Football Club.