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Roker Reminisces: What’s your favourite Sunderland memory from being a kid?

Close your eyes and think: what’s your favourite memory of Sunderland from when you were a bairn?

Dave Holloway says...

1977 and six years old, my old man took me through the turnstile in the Clock Stand for the first time. There was only one click as we were counted as one in that day’s attendance figures.

I sat on my Dad’s knee and surveyed Roker Park from that wooden clock stand seat, in awe the surroundings.

I have no idea of the exact date or who the opposition were, never mind the score, but the memory of the feeling I had that day remains.

As does the smell of the tobacco and the face of an old man who sat in front of me.

His face was pock marked from a life of hard work, his white hair tinged with nicotene yellow. I remember his face and his voice responding to my question “who’s that Dad?” The stranger sitting in front turned around and said “whey that’s Bobby Kerr, he won us the cup - have a black bullet”.

Everything after that, the promotions, the heroes - Rowell, Cummins and Elliott - and a trip to Wembley all pale into insigificance when compared to the sights, the sounds and the smells that I first encountered on that day in 1977.

Roker Park

Phil West says...

The majority of my happiest memories as a Sunderland fan are from my childhood, when we moved from Roker Park to the Stadium of Light, Peter Reid was building something truly special, and players like Phillips, Quinn, Summerbee, Rae and Butler were gracing the pitch as part of what I still consider to be the finest Sunderland team of my lifetime.

With that in mind, one exceptionally beautiful memory that really stands out was from the day we snatched a thrilling 2-1 victory against Wolves in early 1999. We had been knocked out of the league cup by Leicester in the previous game, but spirits were still high as we regrouped for another league match.

The promotion campaign was beginning to feel absolutely unstoppable by then, but Wolves were no mugs and we had to do the business.

We got off to a brilliant start when Allan Johnston ran onto a flicked header from Niall Quinn and buried it with typical confidence to give us an early lead, but then an unfortunate Andy Melville own goal leveled the scores, and potentially scuppered our chances of picking up what would’ve been another crucial three points.

With Reid’s teams, however, we never knew when we were beaten, and we never gave up, continually pressing and probing for a winner as the clock ticked down.

Then, in the dying seconds of the game, after a game of pinball in the Wolves box, the ball fell to Niall Quinn who, in the words of Roger Tames, absolutely belted it into the net, giving us a priceless victory and sending a packed SOL crowd into raptures.

The sight of Reid rushing from his seat on the bench, arms aloft in triumph, is still one of the best and most striking images from that season, and at nine years old, it was the kind of elation that you never ever forget. Brilliant times.

Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Sunderland v Aston Villa Photo by Steve Morton/EMPICS via Getty Images


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