In hindsight it seems ridiculous, but the decision to make Kevin Ball as the new captain of Sunderland Association Football Club was seen as a “shock choice” made by manager Malcolm Crosby.
A new skipper was required due to the shambles of only offering the previous captain, Paul Bracewell, a one-year contract and then becoming shocked as our cup final captain moved to the mags - who offered him three years at St James.
Anton Rogan and Gary Bennett were also in the frame, but Kevin Ball was the man Crosby wanted as his leader on the pitch. Due to Ball’s disciplinary record, it wasn’t an obvious choice - as Brian McNally wrote:
The Roker boss is fully aware that Ball’s past problems with referees will make his choice highly controversial.
It would prove to be a masterstroke from Crosby that was continued by Terry Butcher, Mick Buxton and Peter Reid as they all had the man who Terry Venables had once described as having “the touch of a blacksmith” as their captain until he left the club in 1999.
In terms of his predecessor, Paul Bracewell, it was also announced on this day that the tribunal would be scheduled on the 7th July 1992, where it would be decided the fee that would need to be exchanged between Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United and Sunderland.
It was thought that because Sunderland had only offered their club captain a one-year contract that it would go against them at the tribunal, and we would be lucky to recoup the £250,000 we paid to Everton for his services in 1990.
As it turned out, we got exactly that and the tribunal set the fee so we got our money back after three years - before he went on to drive the mags on to winning the title, playing in the Premier League for them before returning in 1995.
Continuing a busy day at Roker Park, Paul Hardyman was set to turn down an offer to join Neil Warnock’s Notts County and agree terms with Bristol Rovers after becoming a free agent.
The 28-year-old left-back - who had originally signed from Portsmouth in the summer of 1988 - had been disappointed at not making the starting XI for the FA Cup final, having played every game in the competition prior to Wembley.
The player insisted that wasn’t a factor in not signing a new contract with the club, but it was down to the fact that Sunderland wouldn’t match the three-year contracts offered up by Dennis Rofe’s Bristol Rovers, and Notts County.
I have agreed terms with Bristol Rovers. They must be favourites because Notts County’s Neil Warnock has been told he must sell before he can buy me. I wanted a three-year deal and Denis Rofe was prepared to give me that.
In other news on this day 29 years ago, Malcolm Crosby was waiting to hear back from Millwall on whether his bid for John Colquhoun was successful. The Scottish international had made the move to the Den the previous summer from Hearts for £400,000, but Sunderland’s bid was thought to have been around half that value.
The 29-year-old winger was close to joining Sunderland under former manager Denis Smith and linked up with Bruce Rioch at Millwall instead, but was now thought to be keen on a move North after not settling in London.
Crosby also confirmed his interest in the 26-year-old Grimsby Town captain Shaun Cunnington, as he was awaiting talks with Grimsby boss Alan Buckley to negotiate a fee to bring the midfielder to Sunderland.
The other man linked to a move to Roker was Stoke City’s defender Ian Cranson, who was potentially looking to hook up with former Ipswich Town manager Bobby Ferguson - Malcolm Crosby’s assistant manager at Sunderland.