1939 - 2010
Everyone at therokerend.com was saddened to hear the news that former Sunderland centre-forward Ian Lawther has passed away at the age of 70.
Born in Belfast in 1939, Ian joined Sunderland from Crusaders in March 1958 and made his first team debut against Aston Villa at Villa Park early in the 1959-60 season. He soon became established as the club’s first choice centre-forward and ended his first campaign in English football as Sunderland’s leading scorer with 18 goals as well as winning his first full international cap for Northern Ireland in the Home International Tournament against Wales at Wrexham.
After topping the goal-scoring charts again the following season Ian’s future prospects at Roker Park looked bright but, following the signing of Brian Clough from Middlesbrough during the 1961 close season, he was immediately transferred to Blackburn Rovers for £18,000. Whilst Sunderland were obviously keen to recoup part of the £45,000 fee they’d paid the Teesside club for Clough’s services, many Roker fans felt the club had missed a great opportunity to form a potentially devastating strike partnership by playing their new signing alongside the popular Irish international.
After leaving Ewood Park in 1963 Ian went on to provide great service to Scunthorpe United, Brentford, Halifax Town and Stockport County and on retiring in 1975, he had played nearly 600 league games in English football and had also been capped four times by Northern Ireland at full international level.
You can view all of Ian's stats on the statcat website by clicking here.