Sunderland AFC Former Players Association
Sunderland AFC Former Players Association

                     Association News

Club historian Rob Mason pays tribute to fifties wing-half Laurie Bolton

We were saddened to learn of the death of Lyall ‘Laurie’ Bolton who played three games for Sunderland in the mid-fifties. Gateshead born on 11 July 1932, ‘Laurie’ was 86. A wing-half, Bolton played in an era where there were no substitutes at all. Consequently, despite being on the fringe of the side for several seasons he only got an occasional opportunity at a time when Sunderland as ‘The Bank of England Club’ had many big names. In addition to his three league appearances Bolton also got games in some prestige friendlies, such as one at Norwich to inaugurate Carrow Road’s floodlights.

            He had been on the books for almost six years when at the age of 23 he made his debut four days after The lads had lost in the FA Cup semi-final for the second consecutive year. It came in a 2-2 home draw with Preston North End on 22-March 1956, a result that dropped Bill Murray’s team from fifth to seventh in the top flight. Coming in for Stan Anderson – who also passed away recently – Bolton lined up against the great Tom Finney and alongside the likes of Len Shackleton, Billy Elliott and Charlie ‘Cannonball’ Fleming, the latter scoring in all three of the games ‘Laurie’ appeared in.

            Bolton did well enough to get another game a fortnight later at Manchester City, this time as left half rather than right half in a 4-2 defeat. Seven months later he was called upon for a final time in a 3-3 at home to Portsmouth before moving on to Chelmsford City in July 1957.


Our thoughts are with Laurie's family and friends at this time. 


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. 


Jimmy's 'Safe pair of hands'

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.

Charity Donations

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.

Annual General Meeting

A great night was had by all at our AGM.  Here are a couple of photos.

Swinging Sixties Quiz Night 

Colin Suggett, Dennis Tueart and Colin Todd being interviewed by TV's Jeff Brown.

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.


A great night had by the boys, these smiles say it all!

Jim visits Wembley

Jimmy Montgomery recently visited Wembley where there is a dedicated area in the bar to the 1973 Cup Final, and in particular, Jim's double save.


Here's some photos.

King Charlie back on Wearside!

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.

Members of Sunderland's 1964 promotion squad l to r: Jimmy Montgomery, Len Ashurst, Cecil Irwin, Charlie Hurley, Stan Anderson, Brian Usher, Martom Harvey & George Herd.
Charlie cuts the ribbon to officially open the 'Charlie Hurley Gates'.
Thank you for all your help!

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. 

Maurice's trip to Romania

Fantastic Charity work from Maurice, working here with Orphan children in Romania.  


Very sad to hear of the passing of Laurie Bolton, Rob Mason pays tribute HERE 


If you have ever held a professional contract with SAFC then you will be eligible to join the association, click here to access the application form.

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