George Monaghan

George Monaghan

George Monaghan pictured above, front row, holding the medal board

Forward Sunderland AFC 1885 to 1888

SAFC Representative Number 18First Class Appearances 5 (2 goals) -Non Competitive 3 (2 goals) –Minor Competitions 17 (14 goals)

One of the problems with the All The Lads book published some years ago that included the details on all of the Sunderland AFC players who featured in a professional game for the club was the lack of detail for the first 100 players. Research for a potential book on this subject has commenced and as can be seen from the profile below we know far more about Monaghan than All The Lads tells us.

The very first written history of Sunderland AFC was included within The Sunderland Echo & Daily Shipping Gazette on 19 December 1887. It was in three parts and parts two and three are mainly players profiles. This is what was said about Monaghan at that time:

“Monaghan, who now holds the position so many years occupied by Allan as extreme “left,” is perhaps one of the strongest players in the team. Hard as nails, he can stand a deal of knocking about, rough play having little effect on him. He is 25 years old, stands 5ft. 7in., and so compactly built is he that he turns the scale at 11st. 11lbs. A native of Ayr, he cannot be termed as light as the name of his birthplace. His football experience commenced in 1883, when he joined a junior club called “The Seaside.”

His membership of that club, however, was of short duration, for, being asked to join the senior club of his native town, he did so, and the following season was the first reserve for the first team, and having a place in the second team in the Scottish Second Eleven Cup Ties until it was defeated by the ultimate winners – Kilmarnock Athletic – in the third round, after a drawn game. The whole of the following season he had a place in the first team, assisting in the winning of both Kilmarnock and Ayr Charity cups, also taking part in the Scottish cup ties up to the fourth round, when they were defeated by the Edinburgh Hibernians, the present holders.

In the season 1885-6, he only played a few matches in his old place, for after taking part in the first of the three Scottish cup ties against 3rd L. R. V., he was, unfortunately, owing to illness, unable to fill his post during the remainder of the season.

Last season, after playing only one game for the club of his native place, he secured work at Dumfries and joined the Queen of the South Wanderers, playing for that club the remainder of the season, making his debut in a five-a-side contest at the Dumfries annual games, the team winning the first prize of five silver cups. He also took part, together with Halliday and three others, in a five-a-side competition at Dumfries Recreation Grounds, again winning first prize (gilt timepieces), beating Richardson’s team by one goal.

During his connection with the “Wanderers” he played with them for the Churchill Cup. Mention of this cup has several times cropped up in these sketches; it may, therefore, be as well to state that it is a trophy presented by a gentleman of that name for competition amongst clubs in the southern counties of Scotland.

Monaghan also took part in the winning of the Southern Counties Charity Cup, the “Churchill” just eluding their grasp, Lockerbie beating them in the final by 3 to 2. Besides this, the team reached the fifth stage in the Scottish Cup Competition, but was then “put out” by the “Hibs,” the ultimate winners, and, as I have already stated, present holders. Further than this, he was selected as one of the representatives of the Southern Counties in the fixture against Ayrshire, but refused to play, owing to an umpire, in the trial game, having made an unfounded charge against him, which he declined to withdraw.

At the commencement of the present season he was representing the club of his adoption when they inflicted a seven to two defeat upon Edinburgh Hibernians, and with a weak team scored 4 goals against 3 for their old rivals – 5th K. R. V. He then came to Sunderland, having secured work at the New Town Hall buildings, and being an old club-mate of J. Hunter’s, who played for Sunderland two years ago, he joined the senior club, proving a tower of strength on the left wing. It is hardly necessary to dwell on his performances here, seeing they are fresh in the memory of most of my readers. He is speedy, a good shot, full of “dodges,” and, above all, cool-headed.

Unfortunately he is not well at present, but hopes when the next Cup Tie is decided to be in first-class fettle. He was selected first reserve for Durham County v. Staffordshire, and but for the English Cup Tie would have had to render assistance. A place on the county team v. Cleveland was also offered to him, but again he could not fill it, illness being the cause on that occasion. However, another chance of county honours awaits him on December 31st, his name being found in the list of players selected to do duty against the Corinthians”.

Monaghan had made a scoring debut in the 1885/86 season in the 9 v 0 thrashing of Cathedral and would play irregularly for Sunderland. Interestingly we think Monaghan then played for Sunderland one week later in the clubs first FA Cup tie against Redcar, but probably under the name of Logan. This suggests that he was something of a ringer, imported for important matches, and indeed he would be back at Sunderland with controversy a year or two later.

He was back in 1887/88 and his early performances were not encouraging with the local Herald newspaper scathing about this “newcomer”; “when he got the ball all considerations of the game are overlooked in his anxiety to please the gallery”.

One month later and he was the hero as he scored a hat trick in Sunderland’s 4 vs. 2 win against Morpeth Harriers in the English Cup 1st Round at Newcastle Road on Saturday 15 October 1887. However Sunderland’s Ford was deemed to be ineligible for this game and it was replayed one week later. Sunderland won again 3 v 2 with Monaghan again scoring, two this time.

Monaghan was one of the “5 Caledonians” who made such an impact, with the local newspaper reporting that he “was a compact and tough 25 year old who had come to Wearside to work on the new Town Hall – and to play football; speedy and hardworking”.

In the November of 1887 Monaghan played in the FA Cup second round where Sunderland defeated Newcastle West End and made it 9 wins in a row that season in all competitions.

In the third round all hell broke lose where after a drawn first game against Middlesbrough, Sunderland won the replay but after the game it was confirmed that SAFC would be disqualified for, essentially, professionalism. Monaghan and another 2 players were disqualified from playing for 3 months.

At the end of the season it was confirmed that Monaghan would play for local rivals Sunderland Albion from the 1888/89 season. Monaghans goal scoring record at Sunderland was remarkable, 18 goals in just 25 games.

My Heritage has a George Monaghaen being born on 10 September 1862 at Kilwining in Ayr and this is likely to be Sunderland AFC’s Monaghan, although there was another George Monachan born 15 days later in Straiton, Ayr. No date of death is given for either.

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