On this day in 1958, clubs interested in signing Sunderland striker Don Revie were warned only a big fee would prise the England international striker away from Roker Park.
After being relegated for the first-ever time – after 58 consecutive seasons in the top flight – Sunderland were facing second division football and manager Alan Brown, who’d taken over after the departure of Bill Murray a season earlier, was having to ‘clean up’ the operations of the club after the illegal payments scandal.
Revie, who’d been bought a couple of years earlier, had been a regular in the side the previous season, scoring 12 goals. However, Brown wanted to focus on youth, and Middlesbrough – also in Division Two – wanted to take Revie to his hometown club.
The Ayresome Park club were warned they’d need to get into the ‘five figure’ category if they were to have any chance of landing Revie, and evidently it was out of their reach, as Revie stayed at Sunderland for a few more months.
He forced his way back into contention, playing nine games and scoring one goal before a £14,000 move to Leeds United, starting his successful relationship with the club with whom he is now indelibly linked.
Ironically, if he had signed for Boro, he would have linked up with Brian Clough, with whom he went on to have somewhat of a turbulent relationship.
As for Sunderland, the first season outside of the top flight was somewhat of a struggle, finishing 15th – and it wasn’t until the 63-64 season that Alan Brown managed to get the club back up.
There’s something to be said for patience.