Tuesday, 11 February 2014

1964 FA Cup fifth round: Sunderland 3 Everton 1

The front cover of the book on
Charlie shows him leading the Sunderland
side out prior to the cup tie with Everton in
The fifth round FA cup tie on February 15th 1964 attracted what is officially Sunderland’s last ever 60,000 plus home crowd to date with 62,817 passing through the turnstiles, a quarter of them from Liverpool. 
At the time the Sunderland team used to run out of the tunnel to the music from the popular Police TV series Z cars. The music was intended to inspire the team, but as Everton also used the same tune at Goodison Park before their home matches it was decided to drop the tune for the game. The replacement was Charlie is m’Darling, but he was not to be for the Everton forwards. 

The Merseysiders were to be well beaten by a rampant Sunderland side skippered by an inspirational Hurley who had the joy of watching as his charges scored three in the first thirty-two minutes. Hurley’s partner Jimmy McNab had the pleasure of scoring the first in the third minute in front of the Fulwell End; Hurley scored the second in the twenty-sixth minute ‘after a corner, which West missed, the ball bounced off Usher to Hurley who hit it first time and it deflected off Harris over the line,’ reported the Liverpool Echo. Brian Harris did score a beauty for Everton from a free-kick but Sunderland ran out worthy winners by three goals to one. 

Hurley was simply sublime. It was one of his finest ever performances in a Sunderland strip and in his Monday match report, the Liverpool Echo reporter remarked that Jimmy Gabriel, normally a wing-half but standing in at centre forward, missed an eighth minute chance, ‘the only time Gabriel was able to escape the magnificent Hurley, the best centre-half I’ve ever seen since T.G.Jones.’ Jones is an Everton legend who made over 400 appearances in the 1950s. 

Hurley remembers the match well: “They stuck Jimmy Gabriel up front, he was midfield player who’d been doing well, I thought ‘well Jimmy, it’s going to be a different game today, son’. I scored and Jimmy Mac scored and our third goal was an own goal from Mick Meagan, another wing half…all the goals were scored by half backs.

It was as good a display as any we ever made when I was at Sunderland. It was a tremendous day, and the fans went crazy.” 

The Sunderland team had taken to visiting Wetheralls, the first night club in the north-east, after Hurley had found out about it. 

“Oh yes. Wetheralls was a very pokey little place. My wife and I have always loved going out; we love socialising. We always dig out these places, and I found out about this one. It was a membership place so I got all the players free memberships be because we were very popular. 

The club became very successful. After the Everton match I remember the manager phoned my house to see if we were going in on the night. They’d been inundated by calls from members asking if the players were coming in and he said if we did then there’d be a meal and free champagne. So all the lads went - we had dinner, champagne all night, Tom Jones was on, place was packed and we were all sitting together, signing autographs. It wasn’t fans and players, we were all part of the same club. The ‘60s were a good time to be around and the players at Sunderland got on well with each other. We also had Crossan and Mulhall at the time, who were a great comedy duo!

It would be nice today if players today had more contact, I think they’re missing out today on that with the fan. After all these players have to realise that if these supporters don’t come in then there would be no £10,000, £20,000 a week wages, I think fans are now being priced away from the game, the danger is that the game will kill itself. You might end up with a Premier League and a lot of the smaller clubs will go out of business, I think that the players have lost their way, I read their comments in the papers about financial matters, it just seems football has turned into a pound note, multi-pound notes, no great camaraderie between the fans and the players, you’ve got to remember, without the fans you’ve got nothing.“ 

Sunderland's finest footballer signs autographs for the fans. 

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