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On This Day (1937): Carter lifts the trophy as Sunderland win the FA Cup for the very first time

Today marks the 84th anniversary of Sunderland AFC winning the FA Cup for the very first time - a 3-1 win over Preston North End, with born-and-bred Mackems Raich Carter and Bobby Gurney getting on the score-sheet.

Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Preston North End: Burns, Gallimore, Beattie, Shankly, Tremelling, Milne, Dougal, Beresford, F O’Donnell, Fagan, H O’Donnell

Sunderland: Mapson, Gorman, Hall, Thomson, Johnston, McNab, Duns, Carter, Gurney, Gallacher, Burbanks

On only two occasions in the history of Sunderland Association Football Club have the team lifted the FA Cup trophy. Of course, most famously we won it in 1973 - and even today, that particular victory is still celebrated by the folk on Wearside. I highly doubt that Bobby Kerr has had to buy a pint since that day!

Sadly though, the last remaining member of the 1937 FA Cup final winning side was Johnny Mapson, who passed away in 1999. As such - for my generation, anyways - it sometimes feels like we skip over that particular victory in 1937, and maybe don’t celebrate that part of our history quite as much as we ought to.

This was an incredibly talented Sunderland side who, in the previous season, had won the first division title - the last time we ever lifted that particular trophy, and the sixth league title in the trophy cabinet of this historic football club.

Our league form in that FA Cup winning campaign wasn’t as impressive, with the team landing in 8th. People didn’t dwell too much on it however, as the one trophy that had eluded them finally came into the possession of mercurial captain Raich Carter on May 1st, 1937.

After a cagey opening thirty minutes or so of the game, Preston took the early advantage through Frank O’Donnell - and whilst the supporters from Lancashire waved their flat caps in jubilation, their joy was short-lived as soon after half time, legendary goalscorer Bobby Gurney bagged the equaliser, handing the momentum and advantage to Johnny Cochrane’s side.

The goal was as route one as they come - a long, deep cross was won by Carter, who flicked the ball on at pace to Silksworth-born Gurney, and his header proved to be too powerful for Mick Burns between the sticks for Sunderland’s opponents.

The pair switch roles when it came to Sunderland’s second goal, with Gurney turning provider for Carter after Eddie Burbanks found the striker with a lovely pass.

Carter - the Hendon lad captaining his team at Wembley - slammed the ball home, ironically in the 73rd minute, to send the travelling army of Sunderland supporters into utter delirium.

With members of the British Royal Family watching on from the Royal box, Sunderland managed to cap off their performance in style to ensure that it would be the men from Wearside whom would walk up the famous Wembley steps to receive the winning trophy.

Good work by Gallagher and Gurney saw the ball fall to Burbanks, who rounded off proceedings with the fastest shot of the match.

Preston fought gallantly to the end, but The Lads remained resolute until the final whistle.

Game over, and Sunderland were FA Cup Final winners!

The attendance that day was announced as 93,495, and quite how many of those were members of the red and white army isn’t known, though you’d imagine the majority had came from Wearside considering the massive support the city always gave the team.


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