John Bollands - Q&A

Living now: Saltburn by the Sea
Born: 1935
Occupation now: Retired

As a youngster, who was the biggest influence on your career?
George Hardwick.

How did you come to join Sunderland?
George Hardwick sold me to Sunderland for £7,500 because of Oldham's lack of funds. If I was retained, Oldham got another £7,500.

How do you remember your Sunderland debut?
I had never played in front of such a big crowd before, and with so many stars in the team - it was scary!

What was your most memorable match as a Sunderland player?
My debut, and the game (later on) against Manchester United, most of which were Busby's Babes. Also, my first game abroad against Servette FC in Switzerland.

Which do you consider your best save for Sunderland?
My best save was against Man City - a penalty taken by Bobby Johnston, the first one he had ever missed.

Who was the best player you player alongside at Sunderland?
Len Shackleton & Charlie Hurley.

Who was the best you played against?
Duncan Edwards of Man United and John Charles of Leeds.

What’s the greatest moment of your playing career?
Shaking hands with Frank Swift & Bert Trautman. And being picked for representative matches.

Who do you rate as the best manager you player under?
George Hardwick & Bill Murray.

What was the funniest incident you recall during a game?
Shack kicking a free kick into the stand at Man City!

What was the best part of being a professional footballer?
Being fit & healthy and seeing the crowd get so much fun and enjoyment out of watching their team every Saturday.

And the worst?
When we lost.

Looking back at your playing career, any regrets?

What did you do as your playing career ended?
Took my fathers job over on the docks.

What are doing these days?

What’s the most important thing in your life at present?

Any comments for the website?
The SFPA are doing SUCH a marvelous job, and supporting great charities.


Team (as a kid) - Middlesbrough
Boyhood footballing idol - Wilf Mannion
Best friend in football - Colin Grainger & Jimmy Montgomery
Favourite ground (other than Roker) - Old Trafford & Ayresome Park
Favourite current premiership player - Michael Owen
Favourite current premiership manager - Mick McCarthy