Who advances to the semi finals?
— Roker Report (@RokerReport) June 19, 2019
Johnny Mapson (1 x League title win, 1 x FA Cup win in 1937)
Jimmy Montgomery (1 x FA Cup win in 1973)
VOTE NOW! #SAFC ⚪️
Johnny Mapson - “Safe Hands!”
YEARS AT SUNDERLAND: 1936-1954
HONOURS: 1 Top Flight League Title & 1 FA Cup
The last surviving member of the 1937 FA Cup winning side before his death in 1999, Johnny Mapson was a hero on Wearside in a period before Jimmy Montgomery’s name was ever sung on the terraces at Roker Park.
It’s often remarked that Sunderland have always been blessed with good goalkeepers, and Mapson’s name belongs right amongst the top dogs in any all-time greats list after a lengthy spell with Sunderland that saw him make close to 400 appearances during a stint that was broken up by the Second World War.
And whilst it’s not officially recognised, Mapson played for his country in games against South Africa and Wales during the war - proof of his quality at a time when only the best were considered for national selection, before 23-man squads were even a thing.
Mapson was the number one in Sunderland’s famous Bank of England side that wowed crowds during the 1950s, and was recognised for his unique style of goalkeeping:
Mapson was considered positionally astute as a goalkeeper, rarely having to make a last-ditch dive and had a distinctive method of catching the ball (one arm over the other to one side of his body).
An elderly Roker Report reader remarked on social media that it’s unfortunate that both Montgomery and Mapson have to go head to head at this stage of the competition because it’s fair to say that both men are worthy of recognition as an all-time great, something you’d struggle to argue with. Only three Sunderland goalkeepers have ever won a top flight league title for this club, and only two men have ever won the FA Cup for us.
Mapson is a man who holds both honours, and for that he has to be recognised as one of the greatest goalkeepers that has ever played for this famous football club.
Jimmy Montgomery - “AND A GOAL... NO!”
YEARS AT SUNDERLAND: 1960-1977
HONOURS: FA Cup Winner (1973)
Here’s a man who requires very little introduction, if at all. Jimmy Montgomery is, in the eyes of many supporters, regarded as a living legend of Sunderland AFC - and rightly so, having turned out on over 600 occasions for the Lads across a seventeen year period.
Monty’s crowning moment as Sunderland’s number one was of course on that memorable day back in 1973 when, with the game’s fate hanging in the balance, he produced the greatest double save ever seen at Wembley or in an FA Cup final which staved off the threat of a Leeds comeback - his contribution was arguably just as important as Ian Porterfield’s goal.
Frequent match-goers from the 60s and 70s will tell you that Jimmy could have played at a much higher level had he opted to leave his hometown club, and probably would have been an England regular had he not played in the same era as greats such as Peter Shilton and Gordon Banks.