SFPA Dinner 2009

Written by Brian Leng

The Stadium of Light staged the Sunderland Former Players’ Association annual dinner last Friday night which this year honoured the last Sunderland team to win the FA Youth Cup. A side featuring Ritchie Pitt who four years later would win the FA Cup at Wembley came from 3-0 down in the first leg of the final against West Brom to handsomely take the second leg 6-0.

Back row left to right:
Les Scott, Derek Weddle, Stan Anderson, Graham Reed, Winston Young, Jack Maltby, Ritchie Pitt,
Jim Montgomery, Cecil Irwin, Kevin Ball, Lee Howey, Bobby Park, Dick Malone, Jimmy Shoulder,
Lewis Wheatman, Nick Sharkey, John Dillon, Harry Clark, Colin Beesley.

Front row left to right:
Maurice Hepworth, Ian Rodden, Richard Taylor, Barry Dunn, Martin Scott Richard Taylor, Paul Atkinson,
Ian Cruddas. NB: Bobby Kerr, Eric Gates and Fred McIver were also at the dinner.

Ritchie was joined by Bobby Park who like Ritchie saw his career curtailed early because of injury. The pair later staged a joint Testimonial against Dutch side AZ. Joining Pitt and Park were Colin Beesley and sub Fred McIver who also went on to play first team football, Richard Taylor and Mick Horswill who missed out on a chance of cup final glory through injury in ’69 but was a mainstay of the Wembley heroes alongside Ritchie Pitt four years later.

Now of course one of the ‘Three Legends’ on Century Radio, Mick Horswill is a terrific compere and did an excellent job at the dinner which featured ex Man City and Wolves man Steve Daley as speaker. He proved to be excellent with some really funny self deprecating tales including some from his time in America playing alongside Sunderland men Stan Cummins and Shaun Elliott with Seattle Sounders. Further comedy was provided by ex Leeds player John Stiles, the son of World Cup winner Nobby.