Cecil Irwin - Q&A

Living now: Ellington Village, Northumberland
Born: 1942
Occupation now: Retired

As a youngster, who was the biggest influence on your career?
Alan Brown.

How did you come to join Sunderland?
Straight from school, via a scout.

How do you remember your Sunderland debut?
A hostile crowd. Sunderland were going through a tough time ... I was only 16!

What was your most memorable match as a Sunderland player?
The 3 games against Man United in the FA Cup. We played against George Best, Bobby Charlton & Denis Law ... Sunderland were equal to them all.

And the worst?
Against Everton and being relegated.

Which do you consider your best goal for Sunderland?
My one and only, against Nottingham Forest! (Cec managed 4 own-goals during his 350 appearances for The Lads).

Who was the best player you player alongside at Sunderland?
Charlie Hurley & Jim Baxter.

Who was the best you played against?
Peter Thompson at Liverpool. I played against Peter right from schooldays (Cumbria vs Northumberland) He was a great player, even then.

What’s the greatest moment of your playing career?
Winning promotion to the top flight in 1964.

Who do you rate as the best manager you player under?
Alan Brown.

What was the funniest incident you recall during a game?
Monty swinging against his post expecting the ball to go past only for it to go into the net! (against Coventry away).

What was the best part of being a professional footballer?
Training and playing every day.

And the worst?
Not being picked for the first team.

Looking back at your playing career, any regrets?

What did you do as your playing career ended?
Bought a newsagents.

What are doing these days?
I'm retired, but play lots of golf.

What’s the most important thing in your life at present?
My wife Margaret, the kids and the grand-kids. Also, looking after two mothers, both aged 90!


Team (as a kid) - SAFC
Boyhood footballing idol - Jackie Milburn (he also came from Ashington)
Best friend in football - Nick Sharkey, Monty & Lenny Ashurst
Favourite ground (other than Roker) - Arsenal
Favourite [former] premiership player - Ronaldo
Favourite current premiership manager - Alex Ferguson
Singer - Frank Sinatra
Film star - Laurel & Hardy
Film - Casino Royale
TV programme - Only Fools & Horses
Past-time (except football) - Golf, and walking the dogs
Food - Porridge
Holiday - Greek Islands

If you could meet one person in the world, who would it be?
Tiger Woods