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1930-1939

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The 1930's were probably the best seasons ever for the club, in terms of both success and excitement. Manager Cochrane embarked on a rebuilding programme that, with similar overtones to the start of the 21st Century, was built on youth. It paid handsome dividends.
 
In 1933 Horatio ("Raich") Carter played his first match for the club at the age of eighteen.  Before the end of the season he was an England international.  Like the club itself he was born in Hendon and attended the Board School in his Youth. 

An FA Cup replay with Derby County in 1933 drew 75,118 spectators, (on a Wednesday afternoon - no floodlights in those days!) another record which will never be challenged.  It is doubtful how many of them really got a good view. In a decade of contrasts it also, however, produced the lowest ever attendance, a mere 4,000.

1937theteam.jpg
 

Sunderland were league champions again in 1936, scoring 109 goals (Carter and Gurney scored 31 each), but this time the celebrations were less whole-hearted: goalkeeper Jimmy Thorpe, a diabetic, had died a few days earlier, having being kicked during a game.  He was twenty-two.

1936thorpeatvilla.jpg

 
This year the present Clock Stand was built.  Like the Main Stand it was designed by Archibald Leitch, the most famous architect of sports grounds of those days.  There were no seats in the Clock Stand at first.

Sunderland's second FA Cup Final brought their first victory .  A 3-1 win over Preston at Wembley brought the famous trophy to Roker for the first time.  Raich Carter was made captain because he was the only Sunderland-born player in the team (the usual captain, Alex Hastings, was injured).  Among the many stars of that team was Bobby Gurney whose 338 goals in league and cup are still a club record.  He retired in 1939 when league football was again suspended by war.  

Carter & crowd '73

The club didn't know it then, but apart from a brief spell in the 1950's, Sunderland AFC's position as the nations top club, or certainly one of them, would evaporate and in time joy would turn to despair...abject despair!


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