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On This Day: 5 September 1992 – Red cards, own goals and plane protests at Roker Park!

ON THIS DAY (1992): The frustration of the Sunderland fans was replicated on the field in an extraordinary game at Roker Park.

Soccer - Endsleigh League Division One - Notts County v Sunderland - Meadow Lane Photo by Phil O’Brien/EMPICS via Getty Images

Think own goals versus Charlton, and you think Michael Proctor. And Stephen Wright.

But the three that duo managed to score past the Addicks in 2003 eclipsed another self-inflicted defeat over a decade earlier, as on this day in 1992 Malcolm Crosby’s team went down 2-0 at home to Charlton – with Terry Butcher and Gary Bennett scoring the goals.

The game had got off to a bad start. John Kay had taken exception to winger Colin Walsh, and distributed his own form of retribution in the shape of a headbutt. Right in front of the linesman. Less than a quarter of an hour gone, and down to 10 men.

Soccer - Barclays League Division One - Sunderland v Newcastle United - Roker Park
The Red and White Tractor was red carded early in this encounter
Photo by Paul Marriott/EMPICS via Getty Images

We hung on until midway through the second half until first Butcher – deflecting Garry Nelson’s shot past Tim Carter – and then Bennett – putting Robert Lee’s corner into his own net – gave Charlton the win.

The match was punctuated with protests against chairman Bob Murray. Chants of ‘Murray, Murray, Murray, Out! Out! Out!’ grew stronger the longer the match wore on – mainly due to his failure to back boss Malcolm Crosby.

While we’d spent a reasonable amount that summer – around £800,000 – we’d failed to keep Paul Bracewell, and Murray had blocked a move to Southampton for Gordon Armstong, which would have given Crosby additional funds. A large banner unfurled in the Fulwell End demanded Murray’s immediate departure.

Sunderland Assistant Manager Malcolm Crosby
Crosby had been given the manager’s position permanently prior to the FA Cup Final the season before, however fans believed he’d not been adequately backed.

There was also unrest at Murray’s proposal to relocate the club away from Roker Park – a plane flew over mid-match urging him to ‘Keep the Roar in Roker’ amid plans to move the club to land near Nissan.

As the match report noted, it was more likely that Crosby would leave than Murray, and so it ultimately proved, although Murray did take a step back for appearance’s sake, replacing himself as chairman with John Featherstone, while retaining his controlling stake.

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