News & Features

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New members
The Sunderland Former Players Association always welcomes new members and we’re delighted to announce five new members.

Bobby Moncur
We’re pleased to report that Bobby Moncur is getting better after his recent illness.

Maurice Hepworth met him at Bannatyne’s Gym in Chester le Street recently and Bobby sends his best wishes to all of our members.

Change of Secretary/Treasurer
At the recent Annual General Meeting of the Former Players Association, Maurice Hepworth was appointed Secretary/Treasurer to replace Winston Young who stood down after eight years in the post. Winston will continue to serve on the Association Committee with responsibility for organising future golf events and fixtures.

Maurice is settling in to his new post and is keen to be seen as the main point of contact for anyone seeking information or help in connection with the Former Players.

If you have a query Maurice can be contacted by email -
or his mobile: 07860311954.

9th - 16th February 2014 - Global Trekkers' charity adventure - Climb Kilimanjaro
Ritchie Pitt is trekking up Killimanjaro for Steve Crams charity COCO in Feb. 2014 and he needs your help. The challenge is to raise funds for COCO (Comrades of Children Overseas), an international children’s charity founded by Steve Cram MBE in 2000. COCO works with communities in remote regions of the developing world to alleviate the poverty which prevents children and young people gaining an education. Please read on>

I first discovered the team on facebook in November of 2011, during a general search of Sunderland AFC. I became friends and after numerous conversations with Team manager Paul Kimani, I came to realise how he and the team were struggling to survive. Please read on>

Peter Wakeham 1936 - 2013
Everyone associated with and the Sunderland Former Players Association was saddened to hear the news that former Sunderland goalkeeper Peter Wakeham had died at the age of 76. Click above to read the full story.

Johnny Watters 1920 - 2012
Johnny Watters, the man who tended to the injuries of generations of Sunderland players for the best part of thirty years, has sadly died at the age of 92. Click above to read the full story.

Age no Barrier
Former Sunderland favourite Stan Anderson once wowed the terraces. Now 78, he's made a name for himself by regularly 'beating his age' at Doncaster Golf Club. Click above to read the full story.

Billy Hughes - May 2011
A group of SFPA members travelled down to Derbyshire recently to meet up with Billy Hughes and Winston has forwarded the attached photos of the visit for uploading to the web-site. The meeting took place at Billy's golf club, Keddleston Park. Click to see the pictures.

The Teams of Sunderland AFC - new book
The Teams of Sunderland AFC is a unique collection of rare and forgotten photographs, put together by
Paul Days and Brian Leng to form a lavish first-ever pictorial history of Sunderland AFC.

The collection starts with 1884-85 and contains a fascinating panoply of players, from austere-looking Victorians with handlebar moustaches, to the frizzy perms of the 1980s, to today’s rich and famous Premier League stars.

Click on the image for more details and how to order this fascinating new book.

John Goodchild 1939 - 2011

John Goodchild, who played inside-right for Sunderland during the 1950s and early 1960s, has sadly died, aged 72.

Tommy Wright 1928 - 2011

May 2011 saw the death of one of Sunderland’s stars of the 1950s: Tommy Wright. A Scottish international, Tommy was Sunderland’s top scorer in 1953-54 and ever present in 1949-50 as the Lads went agonizingly close to a seventh title, eventually finishing third.

John Fraser 1938 - 2011

Former Sunderland winger John Fraser has died in a nursing home in Southern Ireland, aged 72. John had been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease for a number of years.

Bill Holden 1928 - 2011

Bill Holden, who played centre-forward for Sunderland during the 1950s, has sadly died at a nursing home in Morecambe following a long illness, aged 82.

Jim Montgomery wins The Jackie Milburn Award

Jim Montgomery’s lifetime contribution to football was recognised recently when he was presented with the Jackie Milburn Award at the annual BBC North East and Cumbria Sports Awards at Sunderland University’s award-winning CitySpace building on Chester Road.

Monty had been invited to the event to present the trophy to North East Sports Personality of the Year Chris Hughton and was clearly surprised and when he received the award at the end of the evening.

Click on the image for more>.

The Charlie Hurley story - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4
He said "I’d come to watch the lad you were playing against and you seemed to have him in your pocket’. I wasn’t particularly interested in this old boy Bill, I didn’t know him from Adam, but he kept walking behind me and I said, ‘Who are you?’ and he said ‘I am a scout from Millwall - how would you like for sign for us as a professional?"

Give Tilly a Hand Appeal and The Sunderland Former Players Association are proud supporters of the 'Give Tilly a Hand Appeal' - an appeal set up for Tilly who lost her hands and toes at age 4 to Meningococcal Septicaemia. For more information or to donate visit

We are also honoured to showcase 16 year old Lauren Watkin who decided to walk from Crook near Durham to Sunderland Stadium of Light and raised £700 on the way to help Tilly. Click here for the full story.

John Fraser always welcomes information on the whereabouts of former Sunderland players and we were delighted when John Fraser’s wife Joan contacted us on a recent visit to Wearside.

Ian Lawther 1939 - 2010
Everyone at was saddened to hear the news that former Sunderland centre-forward Ian Lawther has passed away at the age of 70.

Lewis Wheatman 1922 - 2010
We were sorry to hear of the death of Lewis Wheatman who died on 20th February in Sunderland Royal Hospital, aged 87.

Jimmy Shoulder's letter from Uzbekistan
February 2010: well I’m now settling in to my new life here in Tashkent. It’s still winter and the temperature can get as low as -16 degrees. However I’ve experienced life in Tow Law in the past so -16 is like a summer day to me!!!

Len Ashurst book out now
Gary and the lads at are proud to be affilliated with the launch of Left Back In Time the brilliant autobiography of Len Ashurst.

My (FA) Cup of Woe
"For Yeovil the match was a great opportunity and, as it turned out, they took it with both hands!!"

Billy Elliott (1925 - 2008) - Part 1 - Part 2
“Billy Elliott was great. I love Billy – he’s a legend" - Gary Rowell

Niall Quinn receives Hall of Fame Award
“This is an award for Niall Quinn’s support for our campaign as a player and now Chairman of Sunderland AFC"

Locomotive named after Club and City
"..hopefully the historical link with the victorious 1937 side may bring us that extra bit of luck for the new season", says Niall

The Roker Roar humbles the mighty Spurs - Part 1 - Part 2
"..nothing I have ever heard equalled the intensity of that wild roar at Roker Park when Sunderland drew level" (Danny Blanchflower)

Man United 1964, an epic trilogy - Part 1 - Part 2
Remember the replays that made certain FA Cup runs so memorable?

Where were YOU at Roker Park?
A question about irony.

SAFC vs Man City - FA Cup '73
"Francis Lee even went so far as to say he would forfeit a week's wages if City failed to make it to the next round".

The Roker End re-visited
There are plenty of "Kops" and whatever, but there was only ONE Roker End.