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On this day: 1 August 1974 - Bob Stokoe’s Sunderland primed for promotion out the 2nd tier!

ON THIS DAY (1974): A former Newcastle skipper was leading Sunderland’s attempts to get out of Division Two, and the team was shaping up nicely ahead of the new season.

Soccer - Sunderland FC - 1974-75 Squad - Roker Park Photo by PA Images via Getty Images

On this day in 1974, the team was shaping up nicely for a promotion push from division 2, and had beaten Berwick Rangers 2-0 the evening before in the second of two Scottish pre season games.

After the we’d finished 6th the season before, Bob Stokoe had strengthened the side with a few signings, the most noteworthy of which were Pop Robson from West Ham and Newcastle skipper Bobby Moncur.

Moncur lined up against Berwick alongside Dave Watson at the heart of the defence, the latter’s performance described as ‘positively magnificent’.

Moncur, aged 29, would play 101 games for Sunderland in total. In 1974-75, he’d be an ever present in the league - alongside Billy Hughes, Bobby Kerr and Dick Malone, as the team finished in fourth place - 10 points behind champions Manchester United. The following season it’d be Sunderland who were crowned champions.

Soccer - Sunderland FC - 1974-75 Squad - Roker Park
Background: The Sunderland first-team squad for the 1974-75 season at the club’s Roker Park ground. Back row (l-r): Manager Bob Stokoe, Dick Malone, Dave Watson, Denis Longhorn, Jim Montgomery, Trevor Swinburne, Ian Porterfield, Vic Halom, Tony Towers and coach Arthur Cox. Front row: Rod Belfitt, Billy Hughes, Ron Guthrie, Bobby Moncur, Tom Finney, Stan Ternant, Bobby Kerr and Bryan Robson.
Photo by PA Images via Getty Images

Moncur’s transfer from Newcastle was, as you’d expect, a hugely controversial one at the time.

He told the Evening Chronicle years later:

“My last game for Newcastle was skippering them in the FA Cup final and my next game was as captain of Sunderland - imagine that!

“I’d got a sponsored car when Newcastle reached the semi-finals. It was a belter - they called it the Geordieland Special which was written right across it. There was a picture of the Cup on it and it was covered in black and white checks. What a sight.

“And I was daft enough to drive to Roker Park in it for a pre-season friendly. I know that sounds stupid but I never literally saw the car for what it was. I was too used to it.

“The Sunderland fans weren’t, mind you. They went berserk and the next day I had it up to the paint shop in Consett demanding a respray.”