Sunderland AFC; Daily Express 5 A Side Winners 1979/80

Peter Eustace, Shaun Elliott, Chris Turner John Cooke, Mick Buckley, Kevin Arnott,, Stan Cummins, Unknown
Peter Eustace, Shaun Elliott, Chris Turner
John Cooke, Mick Buckley, Kevin Arnott,, Stan Cummins, Unknown

Many older Sunderland fans will remember the annual Daily Express 5 a side tournament that used to take place at Wembley Arena every year. Always a highlight of the football season the matches were televised on the BBC Sportsnight programme that was broadcast midweek. The tournament carried some prestige and was thought of well enough to have the likes of George Best take part for Manchester United. The tournament on 28 November 1979 saw Sunderland AFC score 10 goals in 4 games, with none conceded to take the trophy back to Wearside. The route to the trophy was as follows:

v Ipswich Town 2 v 0 – SAFC scorers – Kevin Arnott – 2

v West Bromwich Albion 2 v 0 – SAFC scorers – Kevin Arnott, Shaun Elliott

v Newcastle United 4 v 0 – semi final – Kevin Arnott 2 & Stan Cummins 2

v Brighton & Hove Albion 2 v 0 – final – Kevin Arnott & Mick Buckley

Clearly a highlight was thrashing The Mags 4 v 0 (this would become a usual occurrence in the 21st century). The Sunderland team line-up remained the same throughout the competition: Chris Turner, Mick Buckley, Shaun Elliott, Kevin Arnott and Stan Cummins although substitutes were allowed on to the field of play at will, together with sin bins and 5 minutes each way.  Full details of the tournament results that year are as follows:

First Round
Chelsea 0 Man Utd 0 (Chelsea won 1-0 on penalties)
Newcastle 2 West Ham 0
Ipswich 0 Sunderland 2
Villa 1 West Brom 3
Coventry 1 Man City 0
Tottenham 2 Southampton 1
Rangers 0 Brighton 1
Arsenal 2 Palace 2 (Crystal Palace won 1-0 on pens)

Second Round
Chelsea 0 Newcastle 1
Sunderland 2 West Brom 0
Coventry 1 Tottenham 2
Brighton 2 Palace 1

Semi-Final
Newcastle 0 Sunderland 4
Tottenham 1 Brighton 2

Final
Sunderland 2 Brighton 0

Finally, a question; if Sunderland AFC were to take part in a similar competition this year, which 6 players would you choose to represent us?

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