Freedom for FA cup winners

Jimmy Montgomery

Sunderland AFC’s 1973 FA Cup winning team could be receiving the Freedom of the City.

The City Council’s Cabinet is examining the proposal at its meeting next week on Tuesday 13 October.

Freedoms are traditionally given by the council to citizens who make ‘significant contributions to the wellbeing and community spirit of Sunderland.’

Winning team members Richard Philip ‘Dick’ Malone, Ronald George ‘Ron’ Guthrie, Michael Frederick ‘Micky’ Horswill, David Vernon ‘Dave’ Watson, Richard Ernest ‘Ritchie’ Pitt, Robert ‘Bobby’ Kerr, Victor Lewis ‘Vic’ Halom, Dennis Tueart, and David Young are all named in the report.

Two members of the team, William ‘Billy’ Hughes and John Ian Porterfield have passed-away. The report states that it is still appropriate to recognise and honour the pair alongside their teammates. Their families would be invited to receive the honour on their behalf if the award is approved.

Subject to next week's meeting and Covid restrictions, a ceremony will be confirmed at a later date.

Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "To be able to formally recognise the achievement of Sunderland’s 1973 FA Cup winning team would be an honour for so many people.

"The enduring pride and respect that the people of Sunderland hold for the team is a testament to everything they have done and continue to do for this city."

The report to the Cabinet outlines how Sunderland AFC were victorious in the Football Association Challenge Cup Final, also known as the FA Cup Final, on 5 May 1973.

The Division Two side faced Division One’s Leeds United, who were the current FA Cup holders as well as playing in their third final in four seasons. Sunderland won 1–0 in front of a crowd of 100,000 fans. They became the first Division Two side to lift the Cup since West Bromwich Albion in 1931.

The win remains the last significant trophy that Sunderland AFC has won.

In 1974 the council conferred an Honorary Freedom to team manager Robert 'Bob' Stokoe.

Since then the team’s goalkeeper James 'Jimmy' Montgomery BEM, received the Honorary Freedom of the City in 12 May 2016. He received it “as a token of the honour and esteem in which he is held by the citizens of Sunderland and in recognition of the example of achievement he sets to the city’s young people and his personal contribution to the wellbeing of the city and people of Sunderland”.

Other freedoms of Sunderland include John Hays founder of Hays Travel, Nissan’s chief performance officer Trevor Mann, Niall Quinn MBE and Joël Batteux the Mayor of Sunderland's twin-town St Nazaire.

Television reporter Kate Adie has also been granted Freedom of the City. Freedoms have also gone to 4 Regiment Royal Artillery - the 'North East gunners', 3 Rifles and the crew of HMS Ocean, which was Sunderland's adopted warship and the Royal Navy's largest ship for many years.

 

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Mowbray Park in Sunderland city centre is one of the oldest parks in the North East. Restored to its former Victorian splendour, it has an intriguing array of art works.

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