The Great War ended on 11/11/1918. The football League had ceased at the end of the 1914/15 season, and apart from charity matches and some localised league games, the country had seen extraordinarily little competitive football for four years.
In response to the end of hostilities and recognising a need to provide something local for North-eastern supporters to engage with, the “Victory League” was formed, to be played from January to May 1919.
The Victory league, apart from Sunderland, comprised of Newcastle, Middlesborough, Hartlepool, Darlington Forge Albion, South Shields, Durham City and Scotswood. Sunderland finished second to Middlesborough, winning eight and drawing two of their fourteen games.
Apart from competing in the Victory league, Sunderland also competed in the Durham Senior Cup. This was not a new competition for the Lads, indeed they were the cup holders from 1915 when it was last contested and had won it fifteen times previously.
Sunderland’s participation in this cup competition was widely appreciated in the region and gave local teams an opportunity to have a go at “the big boys,” as well as pulling in healthy crowds and finance for local clubs.
Crook Town had fought their way through to the final and were expected to give Sunderland a good battle after their victory in the semi-finals against Darlington Forge Albion.
Just short of 10,000 people packed into Feethams to witness this final, but the expected tight contest did not materialise as Sunderland, with Charlie Buchan, Cuggy, Mordue and Travers pulling the strings ran riot.
Sunderland’s first goal saw Crook lose defender Woodhall to concussion, which meant they played the rest of the game with ten men. Irrespective of this loss, the early signs had been ominous for the gallant amateurs as the Black Cats passing was reported as “superb” and their forward play “a treat to watch.”
Sunderland were four – zero up at half time and reportedly could have scored many more but contented themselves with eight goals by full time. Centre Forward Barney Travers scored four goals, with winger John Mordue netting two and Frank Cuggy and Charlie Buchan getting one apiece.
Sunderland retained the trophy and had heartily entertained the appreciative crowd, who had realised gate receipts of £591.
Durham Senior Cup Final – 3rd of May 1919
Sunderland 8 – 0 Crook Town
Venue Feethams (Darlington)
Scorers – Travers 4, Mordue 2, Buchan, Cuggy.
Sunderland – Baverstock, Hobson, Young, Cuggy, Sherwin, Low, Best, Buchan, Travers, Mordue, Coverdale.