Club historian Rob Mason pays tribute to George Mulhall.
Former Sunderland winger George Mulhall passed away late on 27 April, the evening Sunderland were in action at Fulham. He would
have been 82 on 8 May. “Dad’s death came as a great shock to us” said eldest son Neil. He had fractured his hip a few weeks ago and was in
Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. He had been in good spirits although for many years he had been suffering from Alzheimer’s – something he attributed to heading so many heavy balls as a
footballer. My dad loved playing for Sunderland and my mother who had come down from Aberdeen with him loved living there too” George Mulhall played 289 games for Sunderland,
including five as sub, and scored 67 goals from the wing, a couple of the best known being a winner at Manchester United 50 years ago next week and a 20 yarder that completed a 3-0
home win over Newcastle in March 1967. As a left-winger Mulhall was more about making goals as scoring them. Playing in an era when every team had a ‘hatchet-man’ in defence you
had to earn the right to play. Many a winger was known to switch wings if a full-back had hacked him down once too often. George was the kind of winger who made full-backs feel like
switching flanks. I once put it to George that I remembered him as a winger who liked to get his retaliation in first. He laughed and acknowledged, “I did, aye. I used to let the full-back get there first. I used to think I’ll leave that one to you but just as they got there I’d get there with the studs. They knew I was there alright. As a winger full-backs liked to give you a kick early on just to see what you were made of and I liked to let them know I was there as well!”
Ever-present in the much-loved 1964 promotion team, those appearances were part of a run of 114 games without missing a game after joining Sunderland as a 26-year old in September 1962. Previously George had spent almost a decade with Aberdeen who he signed for on his 17 th birthday. The youngest of eight children, George was the third brother to become a footballer, Martin playing for Falkirk, Albion Rovers and Cowdenbeath while Edward represented East Stirlingshire. Always a man who’s eyes twinkled as much off the pitch as he
did on the wing George liked to tell the tale of how he once played for Real Madrid! That wasn’t strictly true but in Jackie Milburn’s Testimonial at Newcastle he
was part of an International XI with Ferenc Puskas as his inside left as they wore a Madrid like all-white.
The fact that Bobby Charlton was centre-forward indicates the company George was good enough to keep. Two of his three Scotland caps were won while with Sunderland, with son Neil revealing a gentlemanly touch by that giant of the game Danny Blanchflower after Mulhall joined Denis Law and Ian St. John on the score-sheet in a 4-0 win over Northern
Ireland. “Dad had swapped his shirt with Danny Blanchflower but when Blanchflower got back to his dressing room and realised it was my dad’s debut he knocked on the Scotland door and returned his shirt while letting him keep the Irish shirt.” Mulhall’s farewell in red and white came in the same game as Charlie Hurley’s final appearance in an away win at Burnley in April
1969 after which he played for Cape Town City and had a single game for Greenock Morton.
George managed Halifax Town, keeping them in the league and in a second spell returning them to the Football League, his Conference win being the first time The Shaymen had ever won any league title. He also managed Bradford City, scouted for Ipswich and was assistant manager at Tranmere, Huddersfield and Bolton, where he worked alongside his old Roker team-mate Dtan Anderson and tutored a young Peter Reid who as Sunderland Manager took a team to Halifax for Mulhall in 1999.
SFPA In Support of Centrepoint with £5,000 contribution to Charity
Sunderland Former Players Committee members (L-R) Maurice Hepworth, Jimmy Shoulder, Gary Bennett, Jim Montgomery and Dick Malone presented Centrepoint, the leading UK Charity for homeless young people with £5,000. "We’re so proud to be able to contribute to this amazing cause!
Centrepoint provide accommodation, health support and life skills to get homeless young people back into education, training and employment.
Out contribution will support these vulnerable young people by positively impacting on the these very important lives.
Message from Alvan Bailey from Durham Lions;On 23rd June 2017, Durham Lions completed their Centennial Legacy Project which celebrates 100 years of Lionism with a lasting memorial. A Rowan tree planted in the bird watching area at the Durham Wild life Trust Centre, Rainton Meadows, Houghton Le Spring will mature over the years and its startling red berries will attract and feed many species of birds.Hopefully, many visitors to the centre will gain great pleasure from observing the visiting birds.On this occasion we were joined by the legendary ex Sunderland goal keeper Jimmy Montgomery, famous for his crucial double save in the 1973 final on 5th May, which preserved Sunderland’s 1-0 winning score over the much fancied Leeds United. Jimmy lived up to his reputation of being a safe pair hands while presenting the commemorative plaque to the Durham Wild Life Trust.After the presentation Jimmy stayed to enjoy a coffee with us in the lovely tearoom at the Centre, entertaining us with many stories and memories. Lion Alvan did confess that, at heart, he was still a Baggies supporter, and thanked SAFC for their support in the 50s at a benefit match for a badly injured Albion player.Durham Lions would like to thank Jimmy for taking the time to join us and making the event rather special. We would like to thank Chris Jones of the Wild Life Trust for his help in obtaining the tree, getting it planted and for positioning the plaque in a prominent area in the Visitors Centre.We would also like to thank Robert Chatwin at St Margaret’s Centre in Durham for organising the production of the fine looking plaque. The two organisations had already each received a donation of £300.00 which we know will help to support the good work done by them in our local community.The photos show Jimmy with the plaque, a reminder of that fantastic double save, a close up of the plaque and one of it in place in the Visitors Centre. After that we all queued up for a photo with Jimmy, including Val Bailey who seemed to be favoured with a bit of a cuddle. We than went outside for a photo with Chris Jones of the Wild Life Trust, Jimmy and Lion President Peter.
The SFPA is proud to be able to support and sponsor many charities. Here is a recent presentation to the David McClean Immiotherapy Cancer Fund by our Treasurer Maurice Hepworth. A signed shirt and £250 generous donation. Always good to be able to help great work and charities.
A great night was had by all at our AGM. Here are a couple of photos.
On February 9th the Association held their 'Swinging 60's Quiz Night' at the 'Stadium of Light'. A great night was had by all, with many good memories.
A big thank you to Peter Stronach for organising the event, along with all of the committee members;
Gary Bennet (Chairman), Gordon Ellis (Secretary), Philip Lowes, Maurice Hepworth (Treasurer), Richard Malone, Sonia Kulkarni, Jimmy Shoulder, Micky Horswill, Winston Young and Jim Montgormery.
See below for a few photo's from the event.
There was cause for a double celebration at Sunderland’s recent Premier League game against Hull City at the Stadium of Light - not only did the Black Cats record their first home league win of the season, but the club’s ‘Player of the Century’, Charlie Hurley, was also in attendance as part of a special event organised by the club to mark his 80th birthday.
'King Charlie', as the fans called him, along with other members of Sunderland’s legendary 1964 promotion squad, Jimmy Montgomery, Cecil Irwin, Len Ashurst, Martin Harvey, Brian Usher, George Herd and Stan Anderson, was presented to the crowd before the game and received a truly rapturous reception. Earlier in the day Charlie officially opened the gates from the ‘Charlie Hurley Centre’, club’s old training base in Whitburn, which have now been relocated to outside the Stadium of Light adjacent to the west stand.
Sunderland Young Carers’ Rainbows and Rollercoasters project.
A few weeks ago we were asked by Lisa Hall of the Sunderland Carers’ Centre if we would help them in a bid for lottery funding to enable them to undertake a major project. We were delighted to accept the invitation and published news of it on our Facebook page. Thanks to the tremendous response from Sunderland supporters, including many who don’t live locally, the project was awarded the maximum funding, £49,865. Well done you red and whites!
Monty – A Freeman Of The City!
We are delighted to let you know that, following his award of the British Empire Medal, Monty is to made a Freeman of the City of Sunderland in recognition of ‘his outstanding contribution to the wellbeing and community spirit of the City’. The honour will be conferred on him at a ceremony on Thursday 12th May.