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On This Day (9th October): Montgomery, Allen, Carter - a momentous date in Sunderland’s history!

The 9th of October features heavily in the lives of three of Sunderland AFC’s biggest-ever figures...

When Tony Mowbray was appointed as head coach at the Stadium of Light the joke was that if he ended up doing a good job, he’d have a certain city park named after him.

One man that already has a local amenity named in his honour however is the late, great Raich Carter – and the sports centre that bears his name is a testament to his place amongst the all-time legends of Sunderland AFC.

Carter sadly died on this day in 1994 aged 80, but his memory is still held dear.

Coming from Hendon, near to where ‘his’ leisure centre now stands, he went on the captain the Lads to both a league title and their first-ever FA Cup success – yet the club for whom he achieved so much may not have even existed were it not for its founding father, the anniversary of whose birth is also today.

Carter takes centre stage on a major day in the club’s history

Born in 1857, James Allan moved to Sunderland to take up a teaching position, but he soon began trying to establish an outlet for his extra circular activities too.

Already a keen footballer having played the game whilst studying in his native Scotland, he encouraged his new counterparts during a meeting at the British School in Norfolk Street in 1879 to form what was then called the Sunderland and District Teachers’ Association Football Club – and the rest was history.

It was pleasing to read recently of the proposed regeneration developments at the site, which had been turned into a hotel once it was no longer being used for education.

Artist studios and creative spaces have been earmarked alongside other wellbeing and business facilities at a building that is not a million miles from the Raich Carter Sports Centre as it happens, or the adjoining fields where Allan and co. had coincidentally played their first competitive games.

Photo from the Sunderland Echo

Having been hugely instrumental behind the scenes Allen was influential on the pitch too.

He represented the Northumberland and Durham FA whilst with Sunderland AFC and having played in their first-ever national competition fixture in 1884 he then scored a record 12 goals in one match, a friendly against Castletown later that same year.

The relationship ended acrimoniously though and whilst he left the club to form rivals Sunderland Albion he did remain in the area until his death shortly after turning 54.

The man that made it happen - James Allan

The connections to this date do not end with Allan and Carter and remarkably, neither do the links to Hendon for today we also mark the birth there of Jimmy Montgomery in 1943.

Soon moving over the water to Southwick with his family, Monty grew up to become every bit the hero Carter did – joining Raich and his close friend Bobby Gurney at the very top of the list of Sunderland icons; if their crowning moment was the 1937 FA Cup win then his was surely the famous 1973 repeat.

The final against Leeds United was just one of hundreds of occasions during which he performed barely believable feats of agility and even now he remains the record appearance maker.

The BEM continues to be a fine ambassador for his club and community to this day; Roker Report wishes Jimmy all the best on his birthday and recognises too the remarkable quirks that mean this date will forever be intertwined with the very fabric of Sunderland AFC.

Monty, following Carter’s footsteps once more...
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