Sunderland boss Bob Stokoe was keen to get his business done early ahead of the 1974/1975 Division Two season, and having concluded a deal to bring experienced defender Bob Moncur to Roker Park the previous evening, he now had his sights set on reinforcements at the other end of the pitch.
Setting off for Manchester on this day in 1974, the local press had been led to believe the ‘Messiah’ was trying to bring United striker Brian Kidd to Roker Park.
He was said to have had other irons in the fire too, and before departing, he told Len Hetherington of the Evening Chronicle that he’d be away for a few nights as he looked to follow up on several enquiries.
However, anybody reading between the lines would’ve been able to see for themselves exactly who the first target was. Indeed, The Chronicle even suggested that terms between Sunderland and Manchester United had already been agreed, and that it was now down to Kidd himself to decide what would happen next.
Still in his mid-twenties, snaring the twice-capped England forward would’ve been a real coup.
A scorer in the 1968 European Cup final, he’d become available following the Red Devils’ recent relegation and so it was no surprise to learn that several other suitors were circling.
Arsenal, Birmingham City and Leicester City were all thought to be in the hunt and in the end, he would move to the capital later in the summer, signing for the Gunners who ironically enough would finish directly above the Midlands pair at the end of the upcoming campaign.
It transpired that Kidd had indeed spoken to Stokoe at least upon him reaching Manchester, but he was keen to remain in Division One and so politely declined the chance of a move to Wearside.
With the offer now dead in the water, it meant the only Sunderland transfer still on the horizon was an outgoing one.
Stokoe had found time ahead of negotiations with Kidd to accept a £7,000 bid from Charlton Athletic boss Andy Nelson for David Young, and things were wrapped up by the end of July.
Likely to have seen his opportunities limited with Moncur on the scene, Young would enjoy a productive two-year spell in London, along with Kidd.
Arsenal’s new buy would finish as their top scorer in his two seasons at Highbury, whilst Young captained the Addicks to promotion from the third tier over at the Valley.
Meanwhile, subsequently heading in the other direction was Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson, who swapped the bright lights of the ‘Big Smoke’ for a return home once the Kidd proposal had been thwarted.
West Ham United striker Robson, who was born in the town, had been listed as one of those other ‘Irons’ supposedly in the mix and at the time of Hetherington’s article, he was rumoured to be unsettled at the Boleyn Ground.
Due to hold ‘clear the air’ talks with his manager Ron Greenwood at the same time Stokoe was at Old Trafford, he eventually ended up being the man to end Sunderland’s search for help up top.
With Robson scoring vital goals that would twice spearhead promotion challenges and then help us avoid relegation over three spells as a player, plus undertaking several coaching and scouting roles for the Lads, maybe it was for the best that Kidd opted out after all!