Sunderland AFC Former Players Association
Sunderland AFC Former Players Association

   Maurice heads to Romania in aid of the Nightingales Project 

Maurice  Hepworth, SFPA Chairman and (Managing Director of MH Leadership and Coaching) recently visitied Romania to work with the Nightingales project which is a charity offering a positive future to young people living in the south eastern area of the country. 

In the near future Maurice will be working with both the Romanian Prison Service and the Hadji Football Academy,  presenting 'Life Skills in football' and creating specific programmes for each organisation.  Implementation of this programme will change many lives in a positive way, very best of luck to Maurice in this exciting future venture!

Find out more about MH Leadership and Coaching at

   Welcome Kieron Brady to the SFPA Committee! 


Kieron Brady made his Roker Park debut against then champions of Russia, Dinipro, in August, 1989. A man of the match performace at the age of 17 had supporters salivating at what lay ahead. Unfortunately, a prolonged career was denied owing to a rare blood condition in his lower right leg. 

This resulted in his premature retirement in 1993 at the age of 21. In the period between he had enjoyed a wonderful rapport with the Sunderland support, many to this day regard him as a favourite player. Former Sunderland manager Denis Smith, in his autobiography, insisted that he was a 'genius' and spoke of his goal from kick off at youth level for the club, this when he decided to simply flick the ball in the air and volley it over the despairing goalkeeper. He also referred to Kieron taking a ball from Roker Park after training and keeping the ball up all the way from the club's former stadium all the way to the sea front.

The club's former captain, Michael Gray, speaking on Talksport said of Kieron - "He was phenomenal.........he is the most talented footballer I have ever seen."

Kieron has a deep affection for the area and its people and is eternally grateful for the warmth offered to him by the Sunderland support.  Much of this centres around a game against West Ham in 1990 when Kieron scored one, assisted in two and played a part in another as the Hammers were defeated 4.3 as the club pursued promotion to the top flight. Incredibly, in the majority of games he played for the first team at Sunderland he was still eligible to play for the clubs' youth team.

In recent years he has become an expert in the field of Equality, Diversity and Hate Crime. He is often called as an expert witness in Hate Crime cases and has devised e-learning programmes and training on Equality and Diversity. In addition, he is a renowned public speaker on the aforesaid issues as well as on alcoholism and mental health. Kieron is a long term sober alcoholic who last consumed alcohol in 2009 and now guides people through recovery.

Kieron now lives in Sunderland with his wife Mandy and son Evan Connolly.


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'

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.

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.

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.  


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