Ryehill Football’s SAFC Image Of The Month

Image Of The Month

Every month Ryehill Football will feature an image of the month. An image that we think fans would like too see that captures the history and essence of SAFC.

February 2018


This months offering is Sunderland Boys v Grimsby Boys, a 0 v 0 draw at Roker Park in 1921. Interesting to note both the size of the crowd and also the goal at The Roker End. A second crossbar appears to have been attached to the goal frame, presumably due to the nature of the game and the height of the lads playing.

August 2017


It was a common theme in the mid 1930’s to name trains after football clubs and Sunderland AFC was no exception. LNER Class B17 2854 was built in April 1936, rebuilt in April 1948 and finally decommissioned in November 1959. Here we see the then directors of SAFC, including manager Johnny Cochrane, attending the official unveiling of the train, a train that would be festooned with ribbons carrying red and white fans to the 1937 FA Cup Final.

March 2017

W - Players At Roker Park 1953

Ryehill Football’s image for March is taken from 1953 and shows Aitken, Ford, Cowan, Elliott and of course Len Shackleton walking past the Main Stand at Roker Park, looking very well turned out. We don’t seem to get these sort of pictures nowadays ie players together in these non footballing moments. Fashion of the day was of course to be smartly dressed and in the October 2016 image below of the touring Juventus team, taken from the same era, all the players are similarly attired. We can also see in the background the then uncovered Fulwell End; the Archibald Leitch lattice work on the main stand was black and white at that time. Red and white lattice work, an example of which can still be seen outside the Stadium Of Light in the car park, came much later on. A very evocative image of the period.

February 2017


The Ryehill Football image of the month for February 2017 is of our former home, Roker Park. It looks like a blazing hot day on Wearside as the waves lap up to the shore on Roker Beach. Meanwhile back at Roker Park we see no floodlights, no Roker End scoreboard, the magnificent Roker End in all of its glory and of course an uncovered Fulwell End. Also note the roof of the Main Stand. Patched it this is where a bomb fell through the roof and landed on the pitch during WW2. There was no date on the image so I’m guessing at the late 1940’s to mid 1950’s. A poignant reminder of our past.

January 2017


The Ryehill Football image of the month for January 2017 is a lovely image of the Sunderland AFC Supporters Association girls inside Roker Park, for a photo shoot, to advertise the sale of the SAFCSA “The Roker Roar” magazine, produced from late 1967 and onwards. Perhaps one or two of you recognise your aunt or mother, sister or grandma on here? If you do please let us know who she is. Certainly I can recognise the lady 6th from the left, Audrey Baillie, a stalwart supporter of the club for decades, now sadly no longer with us. We still remember you here at Ryehill Football Audrey. RIP.

December 2016

W - Campbell Family

December’s image of the month is a rare shot indeed. It features Sunderland AFC’s hot shot Johnny Campbell here in the middle of the photo with his family in Renton, Dunbartonshire, some time in the mid to late 1880’s. Campbell was an ace goalscorer for Sunderland AFC notching 135 league goals in just 186 league appearances. Signed by Sunderland in 1889, Campbell had a chequered family history and grew up with his step father when his mother finally married. He would subsequently go on to sign for Newcastle United but died at the tragically young age of just 36. Here he is pictured with his family, including his step brothers and step sisters. The image is courtesy of Campbell family member Nancy Johnston.

Johnny Campbell

November 2016


November’s image of the month features the Sunderland fans at Roker Park, circa 1928. It looks like it is in the Main Stand Paddock. The most obvious observation is that flat caps (see below) were in fashion, big style (pardon the pun). Another observation is the shutter speed of the camera used by whoever took the photo. Clearly the movement of some of our fans was a bit too much for the camera to handle. Sunderland had a really good side in the 1920’s and it was amazing really that we never won a trophy. However the platform set in the 1920’s would enable Johnny Cochrane to inspire SAFC to win trophies in the 1930’s. Maybe as you look at the picture you may spot your Grandfather or Grandmother or a relation. My Grand Father started going to SAFC matches in 1921, at one point walking from Beamish near Chester le Street with his pal to see the likes of Buchan play. A wonderful picture of our brilliant fans.

October 2016


Sunderland entertained the Italian giants Juventus at Roker Park in December 1957. The game would end 2 v 0 to “The Old Lady”, with Enrique Sivori, then the worlds most expensive player (front row far right) scoring both goals. He had originally cost £100,000 when signed from Argentine side River Plate, lining up alongside John Charles, one of British footballs few Italian export successes. Here we see the Juventus players lining up on the Roker Park pitch, in anticipation of the game, dressed, smartly as ever, in their classic Italian suits and top coats.

Sunderland AFC 0 v 2 Juventus

September 2016

W - SAFC Players With Caps 1922

The Sunderland players line up after training in about 1921/22. Note the flat caps, the smart apparel of the day, and the penchant for pipes.

The players, left to right, back row: Gregory, Parker, England, Power, Gibson, Stephenson; front row: Stannard, Best, Johnson, Haggan, Hobson.

August 2016

In August 2016 we took a look back in our archives from the 1960’s and introduce a modern audience to the men who then ran our football club in 1963.

W - SAFC Directors 1963 Front

W - SAFC Directors 1963 Back.

The image for August 2016 was taken in the boardroom at Roker Park in July 1963 and features board members, from left to right, Jack Cooke, Jack Parker, Dr Ritson, Syd Collings, T Evans and Colonel Turnbull. The early 1960’s was a significant period for Sunderland AFC as the club sought to rebuild its reputation after the Illegal Payments Scandal of the 1950’s that dragged on and on. The previous Directors had been barred, players barred (and subsequently exhonerated) and an embarrassed club was of course subsequently relegated form the top flight for the very first time in its history.

What we particularly like about this image is not only the hauntingly typical depiction of the 1960’s but the panes of the wooden wall behind the directors that have imposed into them glass framed images of previous SAFC directors. The image bottom and far left is of Fred Taylor, also known as “Mr Sunderland” who was an Alderman in the then town and bred bulldogs. He was associated with Sunderland AFC for decades. I wonder where those images are now? Also note the minute book on the table. I wonder where that is now? As images go this pretty much sums up the establishment club that Sunderland AFC always were and in truth still are.

Incidentally Syd Collings son, Keith, was on the board of directors when we won the FA Cup in 1973.

Finally here is an image from the same meeting but from a different angle.

SAFC Board 1963 2

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