From The Vault: The emotional story of Sunderland legend crying whilst remembering fans

Wearsider Raich Carter lived the dream of all boyhood Sunderland fans by winning the league title and FA Cup during his time at Roker Park.

Sunday, 1st August 2021, 8:33 pm

Widely regarded as one of the best attacking players of his generation, Carter made 245 league appearances for the Black Cats.

The maestro also gained 13 caps for England at a time when international football did not occur as regularly as it does in 2021.

After departing Roker Park following the end of World War Two, Carter featured for Derby County, Hull City and Cork Athletic before calling time on his playing career.

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3rd May 1937: Sunderland captain Raich Carter (Horatio Carter) showing the FA Cup trophy out of the train window at King's Cross station, London, after his team's 3-1 victory over Preston North End in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium. (Photo by J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

But the Hendon-born inside forward still remained in touch with his roots despite his eventual permanent relocation to Yorkshire.

Speaking to The Telegraph following Carter’s death in 1994 aged 80, John Roberts shared an emotional story about the Sunderland legend.

Responding to a previous obituary in the national publication, Roberts explained: “Mention of Sunderland produced a note of humility.

“Carter, idolised by the working men of his hometown, did not disguise his emotions when recalling how they would scrape together the money to support the team, home and away, in the 1930s.

A mural is pictured showing the Sunderland football legend Raich Carter, painted by Frank Styles on the side of the Blue House public house in Hendon.

“'Football meant so much to them, you see,' he said. 'It was all they had.' And tears ran down his cheeks.”

Roberts also shared another Carter anecdote: “The magnificent footballer's sense of his own greatness did not diminish in his later years, nor did his awareness of the void which many former players faced on retiring from the sport.

“It was Carter who said players should be sent to the knacker's yard when they were finished, and shot like old horses.

“I am reminded of a conversation with Carter in the early 1980s which presented an opportunity to test the authenticity of an anecdote from his Derby County days.

“Carter apparently disabused an admirer who praised him for the selflessness of his teamwork with Peter Doherty, his fellow inside-forward.

"He and Doherty would strive for individual glory, Carter informed the fan, and the headline would proclaim: 'Stamps Scores Hat-trick' (Jackie Stamps was the Derby centre forward).

“'I was arrogant and conceited,' Carter said. 'I wanted to be recognised as a better player than Peter, better even than [Stanley] Matthews.

“I couldn't have put up with being just an ordinary player.'”

Carter’s legacy in Sunderland lives on with the Raich Carter sports centre still going from strength to strength in Hendon.

The centre is thought to be sited on roughly the same area as the Ocean Queen – a long-since demolished public house,

Carter, however, was born in the Ocean Queen, which was run by his father, Robert Carter, who himself played professional football for Port Vale, Fulham and Southampton.

A mural of Raich Carter also looks out over the city.

The stunning portrait was painted by local artist Frank Styles adorns one side of the Blue House pub which sits a stone's throw away from the sports centre.

‘From The Vault’ is a brand new series of nostalgic pieces and photo articles brought to you by The Echo, highlighting some of the most memorable stories and scenes from seasons gone by for Sunderland supporters to enjoy.

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