Albert Snell - Q&A

Born: 1931
Occupation now: Bert passed away in March 2007

As a youngster, who was the biggest influence on your career?
My father, and members of Hatfield Main Colliery Football Club.

How did you come to join Sunderland?
I was invited for trials at Chester-le-Street by Bob (Bobler) Wood after reading reports of my playing for Doncaster Rovers Under 18s, on information passed to SAFC by Tommu Busby (a scout in Doncaster).

How do you remember your Sunderland debut?
Very vivid recollections of the whole day, it was a Division 1 match against Middlesbrough. Bill Murray, the manager, emphasised that my particular task was to mark Wilf Mannion.
I felt honoured to be playing with a team composed chiefly of international players like Len Shackleton etc.
We came on to the field to the sound of a traditional brass band. My parents were in the stand and a 2-1 win to Sunderland made the day.

What was your most memorable match as a Sunderland player?
When I played in the Bank of England team on 12th September 1953, and defeated Arsenal at Roker by 7 goals to 1!

And the worst?
When we lost to Leicester City in atrocious conditions, the ground like a quagmire. I played with a cruciate knee injury that eventually ended my career. They humiliated us in a game that we lost 2-1.

Which do you consider your best goal for Sunderland?
The best goal I scored was against Chelsea (the league champions!). I volleyed the ball from all of 20 yards.

Who was the best player you player alongside at Sunderland?
Willie Watson, he was a classical international footballer and cricketer for England.

Who was the best you player against?
Wilf Mannion, Middlesbrough and England International inside-forward.

What’s the greatest moment of your playing career?
The good fortune to play alongside talented English and Scottish international players with SAFC - the "bank of England Team".

Who do you rate as the best manager you player under?
Willie Watson - Halifax Town AFC.

What was the funniest incident you recall during a game?
Seasoned international Arsenal players pleading for us to ease off when we were trouncing them at Roker Park!

What was the best part of being a professional footballer?
The experience of playing in a team I had supported all my life against the best players in the land.

And the worst?
The worst? Being expected to pay in some games when not fully recovered from injury. in my case, this neglect has led to considerable problems, as the years have passed by.

Looking back at your playing career, any regrets?

What did you do as your playing career ended?
I completed my college course at Bede, then obtained a degree in Economics. After graduation, I entered into teaching. I was Head of Department at Bede Grammar, and later became Deputy Head at Monkwearmouth.
Finally, I became a Headmaster at a large comprehensive in Heworth (the "Berlin Wall" between Newcastle & Sunderland!)
It's still a very good school, with Chris Waddle being one of its past pupils.

What are doing these days?
Photography replaced football as a healthy pastime. I am a past president of the Northern Counties Photographic Federation and I've achieved success at international exhibitions.
I was the recipient of Photographic Honours from the Royal Photographic Society.

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


Team (as a kid) - SAFC
Boyhood footballing idol - Raich Carter
Best friend in football - Howard Sheppeard & Willie Criag
Favourite ground (other than Roker) - Old Trafford
Favourite current premiership manager - Arsene Wenger
Singer - John Denver
Film star - Clint Eastwood
Film - Dr Zhivago
TV programme - Dads Army
Past-time (except football) - Photography & fell-walking
Food - Fillet Steak
Holiday - Kranjska Gora in Slovenia

If you could meet one person in the world, who would it be?
Ansel Adams.