Martin Harvey RIP

I was sorry to hear of the death of Martin Harvey this week and would not want his passing to go unrecognised. Martin was an integral part of the 1964 promotion side, which as my first love, is still my favourite Sunderland side.

Everyone knows that the lynchpin of that side was the legend King Charlie Hurley, but without his two side men, Jimmy McNab and on the right, the link-up man with the front men, Martin Harvey, Charlie would not have had the freedom to forage forward as he did.

Martin was never the quickest player, but he had a quick brain and his ability to read a situation meant he rarely looked hurried. But Martin's greatest attribute was his tackling. I know that in today's virtual non-contact game, tackling is just about outlawed and I am sure Martin would not be able to play the way he did then, but no player of that era would.

Martin Harvey could slide tackle an opponent from behind, take the ball off him cleanly and leave the opponent still standing, wondering where the ball had gone while Harvey had already distributed it forward to George Herd or Brian Usher, or George Best when playing for Northern Ireland.

The trio of Harvey, Hurley, McNab has never been bettered since by any Sunderland side (and few other sides), and certainly not by the rubbish that turns out in red and white stripes these days.

RIP Martin