In the run up to our Checkatrade Trophy Final, we have invited our crack (not crap) team of ALS writers to recount their favourite Magic Wembley Moments, or should that be tragic? Here's Ian Mole's' take on our 1973 FA Cup win…
The train to Wembley Central was packed with our fans and as my two mates and I got off there everyone burst out into a loud chant of “SUN-DER-LAND! SUN-DER-LAND!” as we shuffled along the platform. On the way to the stadium the Sunderland team coach passed us and a few of them pointed at us as we went doolally on the pavement. We had no tickets for the game and our plan was to attempt to get some but if we failed, then we'd watch the game on the telly at mate's flat in Wembley. At the stadium itself we had no luck and as newspaper headlines that morning had talked about tickets being sold for £120 (the face value was £4) our hopes of getting one rapidly faded. Time had whizzed away and it was close to 2.50 when my mate asked me to wait for him while he went to the bog. I knew that I was going to miss the beginning of the match on the telly as we'd allowed the time to pass without making a move but suddenly I received a tremendous stroke of luck. A passing guy said to me, “Have you got a ticket?” “You must be joking!” I replied, assuming that he wanted to buy one. He then uttered two beautiful words, “Eight quid.”
I managed to recover my senses in time to offer him £5 and we settled for £6. He was no tout and presumably had come by a ticket and thought he could make a bob or two. Anyway, I rapidly said goodbye to my two equally-stunned and no doubt envious mates as I hurried towards the turnstile. I was too numb to look at the numbers on the ticket but friendly stewards guided me to my seat and I got there just as the teams were being introduced to the Duke of Kent. As it turned out I was even luckier to have a seat right on the line where Porterfield scored the winner and Monty made his amazing double save.
We all know what happened in the match but I doubt if I'll ever tire of watching replays of it. I thought that final whistle would never blow but when it did I saw Stokoe hurtle from the dugout to embrace Monty and whenever I see photos of that, it brings tears to my eyes. Next thing, everyone was on their seats singing 'Blaydon Races' (this was when we called ourselves Geordies by the way) and the roaring continued unabated as the Cup was presented and the team did its lap of honour. I couldn't actually see the presentation of the Cup but after the day I'd had I couldn't complain.
I finally got the train back to Euston Station and as I walked along Euston Road a bus passed me and the conductor shouted to someone as he pointed at me, “There's one of them!” That summed up how fantastic that day was. I was one of the chosen ones and everyone connected with Sunderland felt special. Of course such euphoria doesn't last forever but nothing can change the magic of that day and the whole build-up to it.