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The SAFC 365 Advent Calendar (Dec 22nd): The men that ran the show!

Your countdown to Christmas – but with a Sunderland AFC twist! 


Still got somebody you need to buy a gift for? Have you been given some Christmas cash or a bonus at work? Buy SAFC 365 then! A Sunderland anthology, it is jam packed with red and white history and will see all profits go to the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen…

The book has an entry for each day of the year, looking back across nearly 145 years’ worth of Sunderland highs and lows, so to whet your whistle Roker Report has an advent window ready for every morning in the build up to the 25th of December.

Chairmen of the board…

We are nearing Christmas Day now, and for our 22nd advent window, we continue looking at the history of SAFC by focusing on some of the 22 individuals that have had the honour of being Chairman.

James Marr was the first, although technically he was chairman of the management committee. Before that, Alderman Potts had been the club’s first President before he followed James Allan to help form Sunderland Albion. Marr was involved in shipbuilding, with many of his successors also being prominent local industrialists.

In 1896 John Potts Henderson became the first chairman of the club as a Limited Company and would spearhead the move to a new ground, Roker Park in his case, in much the same way Sir Bob Murray CBE did a century later when he took Sunderland to the Stadium of Light.

Before Murray, Frederick William Taylor, Samuel Wilson, William Henry Bell, Sir Walter Raine, Colonel Joseph Prior and Edward Ditchburn OBE all had stints of eight years or more. Syd Collings also had a near decade long spell in charge, as did his son Keith who had to step in after the sudden death of Jack Parker in 1971.

After Keith came Sir Tom Cowie OBE, whilst the first Chairman not to have come from the region was of course the one and only Niall Quinn MBE!

Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
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