Sunderland Association Football Club is a professional association football team based in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England, which plays in the Premier League. Sunderland have won six First Division titles and two FA Cups, seven of which being won before the Second World War, making them one of the most successful clubs in English football.
Prior to the Second World War, Sunderland were league champions six times: in 1892, 1893, 1895, 1902, 1913, and most recently in 1936, when they became the last team wearing striped shirts to win the league. They were elected into The Football League in 1890, becoming the first team to join after the league's birth in 1888. Sunderland stayed in the top flight until 1958, a record which only Arsenal, in 1992, surpassed. The club won their first FA Cup in 1937 with a 3–1 victory over Preston North End. Sunderland's only major triumph after the Second World War was the club's second FA Cup victory in 1973, when the club secured a 1–0 victory over Leeds United thanks to Ian Porterfield goal. They have a long-standing rivalry with local team Newcastle United, and the Tyne-Wear derby has been contested since 1898.
The club's home stadium is the Stadium of Light, an all-seater stadium with a capacity of 49,000 into which they moved in 1997 after leaving Roker Park in order to increase ground attendances. It is commonly likened to Benfica's Estádio da Luz, which translates into English as "Stadium of Light". The stadium originally held 42,000, but the capacity increased to 49,000 after redevolopment in 2000. It has hosted two England international matches, a friendly against Belgium in 1999 and its first competitive match against Turkey in 2003.
Glasgow-born and Sunderland-based school teacher James Allan started the Sunderland & District Teachers Association Football Club in October 1879. In 1880 the club changed its name to Sunderland Association Football Club, indicating that the club had opened membership to all in order to relax financial troubles and increase the pool of players available to it. Sunderland enjoyed an "unhealthy" rivalry with Sunderland Albion F.C., until the latter club's demise in the late 19th century. Ironically, it was James Allan who founded Albion following dissatisfaction with the way that Sunderland A.F.C. was being run, as professionalism was creeping into the game. Sunderland were admitted into The Football League for the 1890–91 season, replacing Stoke, which was the first time a new club had joined the league since its inauguration in 1888. During the late 19th century they were famously declared the "Team of All Talents" by William McGregor, the founder of the league, after a 7–2 win against Aston Villa at Perry Barr. Between 1892 and 1902 the team won the league three times, and were runners-up a further three times.
In 1904 Sunderland were involved in a payment scandal involving player Andrew McCombie. The club were said to have given the player £100 to help him start his own business, with the understanding that he would repay the money after his benefit game. However, McCombie refused to repay the money saying it had been a gift received from the club. The Football Association started an investigation into the payment, they said that the money given to McCombie had been a 're-signing/win/draw bonus', which violated the game's rules. Sunderland were fined £250 and six directors suspended for two and a half years for not showing a true record of the club's financial dealings. Sunderland manager Alex Mackie was also suspended, for three months for his inclusion in the affair.
In 1913, Sunderland again won the league, but lost their first FA Cup final 1–0 to Aston Villa. It was the closest the club has ever come to The Double. The club's sixth league championship came in the 1935–36 season, and the next season the club finally won the FA Cup after a 3–1 victory against Preston North End at Wembley Stadium. In January 1949, Sunderland paid £18,000 for Carlisle United's Ivor Broadis. As Broadis was also Carlisle's manager at the time, this is said to be the first instance of a player transferring himself to another club. This, along with Sunderland spending the likes of record breaking transfer fees on Len Shackleton and Wales' Trevor Ford, led to the club being known at the time as the "Bank of England" club. The club finished third in the First Division in 1950, the highest finish to date since the 1936 championship.
In 1957 the club were implicated in a major financial scandal for the second in their history after the Andrew McCombie scandal in 1904. They were accused of breaking the wage cap resulting in an unprecedented fine of £5,000 and the suspension of the club chairman and three directors. In 1958 Sunderland were relegated from the top-flight for the first time in their 68-year league history. Sunderland won their last major trophy in 1973 courtesy of 1–0 victory over Leeds United in the FA Cup Final. Sunderland, a Second Division club at the time, won the game thanks to a double save from Jimmy Montgomery to deny Peter Lorimer, described by many as the greatest save at Wembley, and even, by some, as the greatest save of all time. Ian Porterfield scored a volley in the 30th minute to stun Leeds and take the win. Since 1973 only two other clubs, Southampton in 1976, and West Ham United in 1980, have equalled Sunderland's achievement of lifting the FA Cup while playing outside the top tier of English football.
After the 1973 FA Cup final win, Sunderland qualified for European competition in the form of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup for the first, and only, time to date. Sunderland beat Vasas Budapest 3–0 on aggregate, and drew against Sporting Lisbon in the second round. They won the first leg 2–1 at Roker Park but were defeated 2–0 in the away leg, meaning they were knocked out of the competition 3–2 on aggregate.
In 1985 Sunderland appeared in their only League Cup final, losing 1–0 to Norwich City. As a result of the League Cup final, every time Sunderland and Norwich meet, the Friendship Trophy is contested. 1987 saw one of the lowest points in Sunderland's history, as they were relegated to the Third Division of the English league for their first and only time. Under new chairman Bob Murray and new manager Denis Smith the club were promoted as champions the following season. In 1990 they were promoted back to the top flight, after losing to Swindon Town in the play off final, Swindon's victory was revoked after being found guilty of financial irregularities and Sunderland were instead promoted. They stayed up for one year before being relegated on the final day of the season.
Sunderland's last outing in a major final came in 1992 when, as a Second Division club, they returned to the FA Cup final. There was to be no repeat of the heroics of 1973, with Sunderland losing 2–0 to Liverpool. The early 1990s was a turbulent period for the club. In 1995, they faced the prospect of a return to the third-tier of English football. Peter Reid was brought in, and quickly turned things around. Reid's time in charge had a stabilising effect; he remained manager for seven years, one of the longest tenures in Sunderland's history. In 1997, Sunderland left Roker Park, their home for 99 years. Upon leaving, former Sunderland player Len Shackleton said "There will never be another place like Roker". They moved to the Stadium of Light, a 42,000-seat arena that, at the time, was the biggest new stadium built in England since the Second World War. The Stadium capacity was later increased to 49,000. A Davy lamp monument stands outside the stadium, as a reminder of the Monkwearmouth Colliery pit that the stadium was built on.
Sunderland returned to the first division as champions in 1999 with a then-record points total of 105. Two consecutive seventh place finishes in the Premier League were followed by two less successful seasons and they were relegated to the second-tier with a record low points total of 19 in 2003. Former Ireland manager Mick McCarthy took over at the club and in 2005 he took Sunderland up as champions for the third time in under ten years. However, the club's stay in the top flight was short-lived; Sunderland finished on another new record-low total of 15 points. McCarthy left the club in mid-season and was replaced temporarily by Kevin Ball, a former Sunderland player. The record-low fifteen-point performance was surpassed in the 2007–08 season by Derby County, who finished on eleven points.
Following their relegation, the club was taken over by the Irish Drumaville Consortium, headed by ex-player Niall Quinn who replaced former chairman Bob Murray in July 2006. The consortium appointed former Manchester United captain Roy Keane as their new manager. Quinn had been in charge for the first few games of the season in a poor start, however under Keane the club rose steadily up the table with an unbeaten run of seventeen games from the start of 2007. Along with Birmingham City, Sunderland clinched promotion to the Premier League for the upcoming 2007–08 season, following Derby County's 2–0 defeat to Crystal Palace on 29 April. On 6 May 2007 Sunderland were crowned winners of the Championship after beating Luton Town 5–0 at Kenilworth Road.
The club's form in the 2007–08 season was better than demonstrated during their last season in the Premier League, and despite ending 2007 in 18th position, January signings helped the club improve during the second half of the season, eventually finishing in 15th with 39 points, retaining Premier League status for the 2008–09 season.
Sunderland began playing in an all blue kit, somewhat different from their red and white stripes of today. The club played in a strip with red and white halves, until they gained the red and white stripes from fellow north east team South Bank after Sunderland had been enduring financial problems. Their badge was included the upper part of the Sunderland coat of arms, a black cat and a football infront of Sunderland's red and white stripes.
In 1972 the badge was changed, but still including the ship, football and the background of red and white stripes. This badge was used up to the move from Roker Park to the Stadium of Light. In 1997 with the new stadium, Sunderland released a new crest divided into four quarters; the upper right and lower left featured the traditional red and white of Sunderland but the ship was left out. The upper left section features the Penshaw Monument and the lower right section shows the Wearmouth Bridge. A colliery wheel lies at the top of the crest, to commemorate the County Durham's mining history, and also the land the Stadium of Light lies on, which was formerly Monkwearmouth Colliery. The crest also contains two lions, the black cats of Sunderland and a banner reading the club's motto Consectatio Excellentiae which means In pursuit of excellence.
Sunderland have had seven stadiums through their history; they started at Blue House Field in Hendon in 1879. The ground was close to the place where Sunderland began, at Hendon Board School, at that time the rent for use of the ground was £10. The club then moved from Blue House Field to Groves Field in Ashbrooke in 1882 though the stay was a short one as they moved to a new home the following season. The club's third stadium was Horatio Street in Roker which became the first Sunderland stadium to be north of the River Wear, the club had played there for again just the single season before moving. They moved to Abbs Field in Fulwell and stayed at the ground for two seasons. Abbs Field was notable for being the first Sunderland ground for which they charged an admission.
Sunderland then moved to Newcastle Road which came to be the longest serving ground to the club up to that point. It served them from 1886 until 1898, the ground reached a capacity of 15,000 after renovations. When Sunderland left Newcastle Road, the rent per year had risen to £100. Nearing the turn of the century, Sunderland moved to Roker Park, returning to Roker. They moved to the ground there recognising the need for a big stadium, it was opened on 10 September 1898 and Sunderland played the same day against Liverpool, which Sunderland opened with a win. After redevelopment in 1913 the stadium's capacity had risen to 50,000. After renovating the Main Stand, the club were nearly bankrupted as a result of it, and Roker Park was put up for sale. On 8 March 1933 Roker Park witnessed the highest ever attendance at a Sunderland match, 75,118 against Derby County in a FA Cup sixth round replay. Roker Park was one of the venues for the 1966 FIFA World Cup and witnessed games between; Italy and Chile, USSR and Italy, USSR and Chile, and the quarter final between USSR and Hungary. By the 1990s the stadium was no longer large enough for the club, and with no room for possible expansion, it was knocked down in 1997 and a housing estate built in its place.
In 1997, Sunderland moved to present stadium, Stadium of Light in Monkwearmouth and was opened by Prince Andrew, Duke of York. It was built with an original capacity of 42,000 and hosted its first game against Ajax. The stadium bears the same name as S.L. Benfica's ground Estádio da Luz, albeit in a different language. It hosted its first England match on 10 October 1999 against Belgium as England won 2–1, the attendance was 40,897. Renovations in 2000 saw the capacity rise to 49,000 and on 2 April 2003 the stadium hosted its first competitive match, when England and Turkey played in a Euro 2004 qualifier infront of 46,667. From 2004 the Stadium of Light has been used as a host for graduations from the University of Sunderland.
For home games, the club's official programme is called Red and White, it consists of 84 pages and costs £3. They also have an official monthly subscription magazine, which season ticket holders receive free. The current fanzine of choice is A Love Supreme. Others in the past have been It's The Hope I Can't Stand, Sex and Chocolate, Wise Men Say, and The Roker Roar (later The Wearside Roar).
Traditionally, Sunderland's two main rivalries have been with Newcastle United and Middlesbrough of which the Tyne-Wear derby and the Tees-Wear derby are competed respectively, though their rivalries also extend to Leeds United. In the 1880s and 1890s Sunderland were rivals with fellow Sunderland based team Sunderland Albion. The clubs met in the FA Cup in the third qualifying round, Sunderland however withdrew from the competition to prevent Albion from benefiting from the gate receipts. In the same season the clubs were drawn again in the Durham Association Challenge Cup; in a ploy to again prevent Albion from gaining money from the ticket sales, Sunderland proposed that the gate money to be donated to charity, Albion declined and Sunderland won the match 2–0.
The holder of the record for the most league appearances is Jimmy Montgomery, having made 537 first team appearances 1961 and 1976. The club's top league goalscorer is Charlie Buchan, who scored 208 goals between 1911 and 1925, with Bobby Gurney being the record goalscorer over all competitions with 227 goals from 1926 to 1939. Dave Halliday holds the record for the most goals scored in a season, 43 in the 1928–29 season in the Football League First Division. Charlie Hurley is the most capped player for the club, making 36 appearances for Republic of Ireland.
The club's widest victory margin in the league was in their 9–1 win against Newcastle United in the First Division in 1908. Their heaviest defeats in the league were 8–0 against West Ham United in 1968 and Watford in 1982. Sunderland joined the top division in England, The Football League, in the 1890–91 season and did not experience relegation until 1957–58 a total of 67 seasons seasons in the country's top division.
Sunderland's record home attendance is 75,118 for a sixth round replay FA Cup match against Derby County on 8 March 1933. The highest transfer fee received for a Sunderland player is £5.5 million, from West Ham United for Don Hutchison in August 2001, while the most spent by the club on a player was £9 million for Craig Gordon from Heart of Midlothian in August 2007.
Sunderland do not have an official nickname, however their nicknames include The Black Cats, The Rokerites, Roker Men, the Light Brigade, the Miners, the Sols and the Mackems. After leaving Roker Park for the Stadium of Light in 1997, the club decided that they would have a vote on the nickname to clarify the situation once and for all. As expected the nickname The Blackcats received the majority of the 11,000 votes beating off other suggestions such as the Light Brigade, the Miners, the Sols and the Mackems. There is a long historical link between Black Cats and Sunderland; including the "Black Cat Battery", a battery gun based on the River Wear.
Raine's "Eye Plan" of c.1785–90 shows two of the (ultimately four) gun batteries on the south side of the Wear which guarded the rivermouth during the Napoleonic wars. This battery site would later evolve into Militia Barracks during the course of the nineteenth century. An annotation to the 1984 published version of Raine's Eye Plan states that one of the two batteries was named the John Paul Jones Battery after the American naval hero who sailed down the English East coast in 1779 with a squadron of warships intending to disrupt the coal trade. In 1805 the battery was manned by local militia, the Sunderland Loyal Volunteers, one of whom was a cooper by trade named Joshua Dunn. He, it was said, "fled from the howling of an approaching black cat, convinced by the influence of the full moon and a warming dram or two that it was the devil incarnate". From that point onwards the John Paul Jones Battery was known as the Black Cat Battery.
A Sunderland supporter (Billy Morris) took a black cat to the 1937 FA Cup final in his top pocket as a good luck charm, it worked as Sunderland brought home the trophy for the first time. During the 1960s a black cat lived in Roker Park and was fed and watered by the football club. Since the 1960s, the emblem of the Sunderland A.F.C. Supporters Association has been a black cat.
As well as the "Team of All Talents" at the turn of the 20th century, Sunderland was also known as the "Bank of England club" during the 1950s. This was due to the club's spending on the transfer market at the time, which saw the transfer-record broken twice. At the beginning of the 2006–07 season, the purchase of the club by the Irish Drumaville consortium, the appointments of Niall Quinn and Roy Keane to their respective roles as chairman and manager, as well as the relatively large number of Irish players in the squad led some fans to jokingly dub the team "Sund-Ireland".
Sunderland have had 33 managers, nine being caretaker managers and the other 24 on a full time basis. They have also had three periods without having a manager.
|Tom Watson||August 1888||August 1896||191||119||28||44||62.31|
|Bob Campbell||August 1896||April 1899||103||41||22||40||41.75|
|Alex Mackie||August 1899||June 1905||214||104||46||64||48.60|
|Bob Kyle||August 1905||March 1928||817||371||155||291||45.41|
|Johnny Cochrane||May 1928||March 1939||500||212||122||166||42.40|
|Bill Murray||April 1939||June 1957||512||186||140||186||36.33|
|Alan Brown||June 1957||May 1964||332||138||88||106||41.57|
|Ian McColl||June 1965||February 1968||124||39||27||58||31.45|
|Alan Brown||February 1968||November 1972||219||63||68||88||28.77|
|Bob Stokoe||November 1972||August 1976||197||92||49||256||46.70|
|Jimmy Adamson||December 1976||August 1978||88||29||28||31||32.95|
|Ken Knighton||June 1979||April 1981||94||34||25||35||36.17|
|Alan Durban||June 1981||March 1984||130||37||40||53||28.46|
|Len Ashurst||March 1984||May 1985||66||21||16||29||31.81|
|Lawrie McMenemy||June 1985||April 1987||90||27||24||39||30.00|
|Denis Smith||June 1987||December 1991||238||91||64||83||38.24|
|Malcolm Crosby||December 1991||February 1993||60||21||15||24||35|
|Mick Buxton||November 1993||March 1995||76||25||24||27||32.89|
|Peter Reid||March 1995||November 2002||353||159||95||99||45.04|
|Mick McCarthy||March 2003||March 2006||147||63||26||58||42.86|
|Roy Keane||August 2006||Present||88||40||34||14||45.45|