On this day in 1981, we lined up against lower-league neighbours Newcastle in a Roker Park pre-season friendly.
A crowd of 10,332 watched on as Alan Durban’s team dispatched Newcastle, featuring a young Chris Waddle and under the management of Bob Stokoe’s 1973 assistant Arthur Cox, 2-1.
Scoring the only goal of the second half to secure victory was one Sam Allardyce, who was given a run out in the hope of securing a transfer away from Roker.
On the morning of the game, Durban, who’d been appointed that summer, said, “I can’t get the best out of Sam, due to the difficulties he’s had in selling his Bolton property. I also want to make room for other players.”
Durban was performing major surgery on the squad – intending, he said, to transfer list a further six or seven, and prepared to listen to offers for the majority of the rest.
“There are another ten players I’d consider offers for,” he said.
Allardyce, who had been captain the season before, had handed in a transfer request after chairman Tom Cowie refused to help finance the purchase of a property in Sunderland, and departed shortly after to Third Division Millwall.
That was the first of three times Allardyce departed Sunderland.
He returned to the club as part of Peter Reid’s coaching staff in the 1996-97 season, prior to his appointment as Notts County manager, while we all remember too well the consequences of Roy Hodgson putting Harry Kane on corners.
In hindsight, Tom Cowie should have built him a house.