Being a club with such a rich tradition and history, it seems somewhat bewildering to think that it took the people running the club so long to open a Hall of Fame for its former players and heroes.
On this day in 2019, a special event was finally held at the Stadium of Light to acknowledge and celebrate the decorated careers of some of the best that this club has ever produced.
In the first of its kind, eleven players’ contributions were marked at the ceremony.
The event - which was dubbed ‘honouring our legends’ - acknowledged the contributions of footballers who founded the club, to 1973 FA Cup Final heroes, up to the players who not only scored many goals for us but played a pivotal role in the boardroom also.
The men honoured were Bobby Gurney, Bobby Kerr, Charlie Buchan, Charlie Hurley, James Allen, Jimmy Montgomery, John Auld, Len Ashurst, Len Shackleton, Niall Quinn and Raich Carter.
The idea for this concept was the brainchild of Rob Mason, the club historian.
In the build-up to the night, Mason built excitement by featuring some of the inductees on the club website. He would discuss their careers and association with Sunderland and explain why there was much adoration for these men.
Legends they all are - and it’s fair to suggest that the club chose well for the first event.
Tony Davidson, the then Managing Director, explained how it was something they wanted to do to mark 140 years of the club’s existence:
Throughout the year we have been thinking of the best way to celebrate our rich history as we approach the club’s 140th anniversary.
As youngsters, we were raised on tales of how Sunderland ruled the game, and now we are fortunate enough to be able to pass on our own memories to future generations, from that special day in ’73 to the unforgettable time we enjoyed under Peter Reid.
The Hall of Fame will see us pay tribute to the men and women that have given so much to the club in years gone by, as we relive past glories and celebrate those who engineered some of the greatest moments in Wearside folklore.
The event was a resounding success, and each inductee was interviewed on stage, with fans in attendance offered a chance to share their memories of the all-time greats.
In addition, in a lovely touch, descendants of icons no longer with us were invited to receive awards on behalf of the heroes from the club’s distant past.
Due to its success, the event was held again the following year, where players such as Kevin Phillips, Billy Hughes and David Halliday had their achievements marked and applauded.