My First Match #2 - Sunderland 1-1 Blackpool, 1949

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Welcome back to My First Game! Our occasional feature where we allow you fine folks who read the site to chip in with a feature and tell us all about your first game witnessed involving Sunderland AFC.

If you want to get involved and send one, we're looking for at least 500 words (more if you'd like) on your first experience of SAFC, and send them to rokerreport [at] gmail [dot] com

We're going just a little further back in time this week with loyal Sunderland fan, Victor Brown. Victor has been through it all with the club, and fondly tells us of his all-time favourites at the club, which included Billy Bingham, Billy Elliot and of courrse The King, Charlie Hurley, who he tells us "Bestrode the centre of midfield like a colossus."

Follow Victor on Twitter too @Spelkender - when asked what the name means - well you had to have been at the Cosy Cinema in Seaham many years ago.

And now, we'll leave you in the hands of the man himself, telling you all about Sunderland 1-1 Blackpool, back  in 1949...

My father was no sportsman playing or watching but when I was nine he took me to see Seaham C.W. a few times. Then one day he said,'Blackpool are playing at Roker Park on Saturday. I'd better take you as it'll probably be the last chance to see Stanley Matthews.' Well, he got that wrong in spades, didn't he?

So Saturday 8th October,1949 found us at the bus stop outside Byron Terrace School watching full buses steaming past. We were just about to give up and go home when one stopped. In town we joined the massed crowds walking over the bridge to the ground. Even the very wide pavements were barely wide enough. That should have warned us of what was to come. Once at the ground we found ourselves forced into the Fulwell End just to the right of goal and about a third of the way back from the field. Everyone seemed well behaved but there was a lot of pushing and shoving and before the game started Dad sat me on a barrier then disappeared from sight. Even on the concrete barrier I could only see about half the field and couldn't recognise any of the players,not even the star outside right. At half time Dad fought his way back to me and then was swept away again on the restart. I don't say I was terrified but clinging onto that barrier for two hours wasn't a pleasant experience .

The bare facts of the match were that it was a 1-1 draw. Stan Mortensen and Arthur Wright scored the goals. The most sensational part of the whole thing is that the crowd was 64,888 a post-war record. Those used to 30,000 or 40,000 at Roker just try to imagine it. My father was a sensible sort of person so what made him think this was a suitable place for a very young lad I can't imagine. I don't think we told my mother much about it.

The odd think is that many years later talking about Roker Park I found two men who shared the same first game and their fathers had taken them. Obviously maddadmania was a common affliction in Co. Durham that October.
Another odd thing is that when I started going to Roker regularly about eight years later I always chose to stand in the same area as that first time. I suppose you could call it facing your demons.

A great story, and we've got more on the horizon too. Don't be shy, come tell us your story. All the details you need are above. Once again, many thanks to Victor for his story too.

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