The BBC has just released from its archives 56 radio commentaries of classic sporting events spanning several decades. We are talking the World Cup Final 1966, the European Cup Finals of '67 and '68, England v Holland Euro 96, the Thrilla in Manila, Murray winning Wimbledon, and the 1973 FA Cup Final. Yes, the Sunderland Wembley win is in with that class of peers. I was 7 years old in May '73, watching on a black and white tv with my dad and younger brother at our home in Cambridge. I remember my Dad jumping round the room delirious when Sunderland scored, the settee tipped over, total chaos. I remember thinking I had never seen my Dad act like that. Other than the Porterfield goal, Monty's incredible double save, and Bob Stokoe running on the pitch in divine celebration, I've not seen the match replayed since, and I certainly haven't heard the BBC's national radio commentary before now. All Sunderland fans should set aside a tea break to listen to the radio commentary highlights, now released as a short, free Replay podcast by the BBC. Turn up the volume, close your eyes, and before you know it you are there at Wembley and your heart is racing. The commentary from Peter Jones and Bryon Butler is sensational, the emotion flowing through. And remember this commentary was heard by millions around the world at the time, never mind the national and international tv viewing figures. There is plenty I didn't know, appreciate or remember; the only FA Cup Final played with an orange ball, that six of the team were Sunderland born, the chants of Easy! Easy! Easy! and YNWA at the end, the terrace hooter, and the unbelievable quality of that legendary Don Revie Leeds Utd team that were defending the FA Cup and that won the Division 1 title a year later.
This is world class gripping commentary. Of course, Vic Halom's 'stockings are round his ankles', 'Sunderland are living very dangerously', Leeds 'pour forward' and 'hammer away', and 'this is tremendous Cup Final stuff.' But then Monty's double save: 'It must be a goal!... It's a goal!... It's not a goal!... It's off the upright!... I have never seen anything like it!' The commentary cranks up a gear as the match touches injury time and we almost score. 'My goodness gracious me, Vic Halom went close there, Harvey pulled out one heck of a save! The noise is absolutely unbelievable!'. 'Guthrie comes in like a tank, he moves everything in sight!' At the final whistle the commentary goes into emotional overdrive and a lump in the throat forms; 'That bank of Sunderland support is alive with emotion, with feeling and with suspense! Sunderland are one up.... and they've won the Cup! They've won the Cup! And you have never seen anything like this! I can see players in red and white vertical striped shirts prone on the ground! Away to my right, where the mass of Sunderland support is, is an absolutely spectacular sight! You now find yourself there on the Wembley pitch, racing to keep pace with Bob. 'He's visibly carrying Bobby Kerr, the Captain, he's going to take him to that bank of support way down to our right, he's going to show his captain to that crowd, in fact there's so many photographers in the way that he can’t get through!' 'And now Sunderland move up to take the trophy, and the noise now is incredible! I've never seen scenes like this! And it's little Bobby Kerr - 5 feet 4 inches, long hair and moustache - who will start coming up the steps just below us, the Sunderland players behind, all hugging each other. A little kiss from the Duchess, would you believe.... and Bobby Kerr lifts the Cup! Bobby Kerr! Behind him Jim Montgomery, behind him Richie Pitt, and Dave Watson, all heroes every single one of them, they come across, there are more kisses, unbelievable! You have never seen scenes like this in a Cup Final before! I'd like a kiss too, says Ron Guthrie!' In these dark times, listen and escape for 18 minutes of pure heaven from when SAFC was the biggest sporting name around the globe. It will make you proud. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p074mlsr Stay Safe, Haway the Lads
BY DAVE FAWCITT