Haway the lads! Going crazy at South Shields seafront as Stokoe's stars go 2-0 up in the 1973 semi-final
Fifty years ago this month, an FA Cup fairy tale began in Sunderland. But were you there when it spread to South Shields sea front?
Jim Wales was. And today, as we begin our series of emotional memories of 1973, we hear from the lifelong Sunderland fan who saw virtually every minute of the Wearsiders journey – bar one tense semi-final when he spent it in a car at Shields.
But let’s start at the beginning.
On January 13, 1973, Bob Stokoe’s team took the first steps towards FA Cup glory with a 2-0 replay win against a tough Notts County side.
Excitement grew from the 4th round onwards.
"Wonderful reception for a great man. That and the fantastic display of the Reading goalie are the standouts of the game.”
Sunderland’s cheekiest ever goal?
An away win in the replay set up a 5th round with Manchester City. Jim was there.
“Micky Horswill scored one of the cheekiest goals ever. He hid behind one of their players while they took a quick free-kick in their penalty area. He popped out and finished well.
"The replay was the best game I have ever attended, great goals, non-stop action, a fantastic atmosphere and the right result. Although City was a top team at the time we fully deserved to beat them. Now I began to think of Wembley.”
Roker Park was packed for the 6th round against Luton Town.
"It was a one-sided game but we were unable to score and it was beginning to look like the Reading game. However before the crowd got too frustrated, full-back Guthrie scored. The roar was a mixture of joy and relief.
“Now Wembley was a real possibility.”
Going crackers on Shields sea front
Semi-final time soon came round against Arsenal but not for Jim. He remembered: “No tickets! My regular match mate and I sat in a car at Shields beachfront to get updates on the radio.
“When we went 2-0 up we jumped out to go daft.”
They weren’t alone. There were cars along the seafront with other Sunderland fans going just as crazy.
And then came May.
"I got lucky with vouchers and got a precious ticket,” said Jim. He was on a coach which travelled to London overnight.
"We arrived early Saturday morning. There were three of us and two of us were keen on aviary birds so we went to London Zoo. Probably not the norm,” said Jim.
"Walking up Wembley Way was emotional”
“The atmosphere started to build on the Tube and walking up Wembley Way for the first time was very emotional. Once inside the excitement, tension and fear was incredible.
“The game itself was a blur and having watched it again several times, things like the goal and Monty’s double save are a lot clearer than they were on the day.
"However, the sheer joy at the final whistle is still fresh. After the game we stayed outside the ground until the team left. That is a great memory.”
We’ve loved Jim’s recollections and we want more amazing memories of the cup run. Email [email protected]