Steve McGhee takes a look at some of the programmes issued covering matches between Derby and Sunderland.
Eleven years after being formed, Sunderland were admitted to the First Division in 1890, replacing Stoke who had failed to be re-elected. Those initial two fixtures saw a total of ten goals scored – a sign of things to come as there have been many high-scoring matches between the two clubs, a number of which I shall feature here.
1932/33 Derby County v Sunderland [FAC]
Having accounted for Wolves, Southend and Aldershot in previous rounds, the Rams were paired with Sunderland for what appeared to be the stand-out quarter-final tie. Both clubs were in the upper reaches of the First Division table but Derby would have started off as favourites having beaten the same opposition 3-0 at the Baseball Ground a month earlier. As it turned out, the tie certainly captured the public’s imagination. A then-record Baseball Ground attendance of 34,218 paid receipts of £2,768 to see the proverbial “Cup Tie Classic”.
For the match, Derby issued their standard 16 page programme (volume 3 issue 33) costing 2d. Line-ups are, as ever, on the front page, “Here and There” on pages 3 and 5 discuss the previous week’s (apparently unlucky) defeat at Everton, how Sunderland have fared in this season’s Cup, as well as the difficulties involved in dealing with an unprecedented demand for match tickets. It’s noted that the club had to return “upwards of £1,000 to unsuccessful applicants” which had necessitated administrative staff having to work all day Sunday refunding disappointed supporters. Understandably, the club encouraged supporters to take out a season ticket for the next campaign, this being the only guarantee of attendance. Pages 8 and 10 feature “Matters of the Moment”, most of which relates to transfer activity around the four divisions. One small paragraph mentions Frank Swift, “the youth who Manchester City had signed from Fleetwood.” Swift, of course, would go on to play over 500 times for City and would perish in the Munich Air Disaster in 1958. Other than the usual statistics, the rest of the programme comprises advertising one of which, on page 15, lauds “Iron Brew” as the “tonic to exhilarate the system” and just the thing when “feeling upside down”. I always thought it was a Scottish beverage but apparently not!
As for the match itself, Dally Duncan and Peter Ramage quickly put the Rams two goals to the good but, with ten minutes to half-time, Sunderland (who included future Rams legend Raich Carter at inside-left) had not just equalised but taken the lead thanks to strikes from James Connor, Dickie Davis and Bobby Gurney. Jack Bowers levelled the scores just before the interval, Gurney scored once again in the 49th minute before an 89th minute speculative shot from Dally Duncan ended the scoring.
A 4-4 draw and back to Roker Park for the replay four days later, a match which, despite the afternoon kick-off, would result in Sunderland’s record attendance (75,118) though fewer goals, a Peter Ramage strike sending the Rams towards a semi-final date with Manchester City. Strangely enough, this was also the last occasion the two clubs have drawn one another in the FA Cup.
1946/47 Sunderland v Derby County
August 1946 saw football return to normal after the travails of the wartime years. As FA Cup holders, Derby would be a big draw that season and the first game of the campaign saw them travel to Roker Park. Nine of the Cup-winning team were in the line-up, the only changes being on the wings where Angus Morrison replaced Dally Duncan (soon to join Luton as manager) and Reg Harrison, not fully fit, was replaced by Wilf Walsh. Walsh had played in all three games of the aborted 1939-40 season – this, his fourth appearance for the club, would also be his last.
With paper rationing still in force, the home club’s programme for the match was a very basic four page issue costing just 1d and has always been one of the harder to find from that first post-war season. Line-ups are on the front page (with, notably, both teams now numbered 1-11 as compared to pre-war issues). Page 2 has two large adverts, one for Oxo, the other for Afrikander pipe tobacco. Page 3 features “The Editor’s Notebook” which highlights some of the problems all clubs will face in trying to restore a sense of normality after six years of upheaval. Also featured is the rise in admission prices to allay increased travel costs, wages and hotel expenses. “These have to be met out of gate receipts”, the editor writes – it’s easy to forget nowadays, with so much TV money floating around, that back then this really was a football club’s only (legitimate) source of income. Ads for Laurel razors and Younger ales along with a half-time scoreboard complete the programme. Basic but, for only 1d, one can’t argue.
The match itself, witnessed by a crowd of 48,466, was a topsy-turvy affair won 3-2 by the home side. Jack Stamps and Peter Doherty, with a penalty, were on target for the Rams with Duns, Whitelum and Watson replying for the home team.
1947/48 Derby County v Sunderland
When Sunderland arrived at the Baseball Ground in February of 1948, the two clubs could hardly have been in more contrasting form. Having been eliminated from the Cup by Southampton in the 3rd round, Sunderland had lost each of their subsequent league games to slip to within 3 points of the relegation zone. The Rams, on the other hand, were on a rich vein of form having won 7 straight league and cup games and netting 24 goals in the process.
Plenty for the match programme to discuss, then – but, sadly, this season probably represented a low point in Rams programmes. The 8 page issue, costing 2d, has very little reading and no mention whatsoever of the visiting team, other than the line-up. What prose there is, is limited to page 7 where a letter from “a crowd of ‘Boro’ supporters” was reproduced, praising the Derby fans for their sporting attitude following the Cup win at Ayresome Park. There is also mention of the fact that full back Jack Howe had now been supplied with contact lenses which he was now wearing throughout each match. And that was it. Season 47/48 was a particularly eventful and exciting one for Derby and it’s just a shame that this wasn’t reflected in the club’s official organ of communication.
On paper, the match seemed a home banker – and that’s how it panned out with Derby coasting to a 5-1 victory in front of a crowd of 35,180. It was quite a day for former Roker favourite Raich Carter who netted no fewer than four times against his old club, winger Angus Morrison weighing in with the fifth. The lone Sunderland strike came from their famous inside-forward Len Shackleton. This match was also noteworthy in that it marked a debut in goal for 36 year old Jock Wallace who the Rams had signed from Blackpool to take over from the out-of-favour Bill Townsend. Wallace’s son, also named Jock, would find fame in later life as the ebullient manager of Glasgow Rangers.
1950/51 Derby County v Sunderland
The Baseball Ground, December 16th, 1950. For many regular attendees, football has to take a back seat to Christmas shopping. “Never mind”, says the dutiful supporter, “it’s only one match. There’ll be another along soon.” Well, not like this one, there won’t. The lucky ones were the 15,952 who got their priorities right. (After all, there’ll always be another Christmas next year).
Once again the Black Cats were struggling for form. A run of just 1 win in 10 games had seen them slip from 6th in the table to 15th. Only Stoke had scored fewer goals up to that point. The Rams’ form wasn’t quite as patchy but each win seemed to be matched by a draw, then a defeat which left them treading water in mid-table.
The 8 page programme issued for the match has the standard detail-free front cover but pages 2 and 3 include detailed match reports on the previous week’s game at Everton, the reserves’ home game with Huddersfield (who included Jack Howe in their team) and the line-up from the ‘A’ team’s 4-1 win over “International Combustion” (I presume a works XI) at Sinfin Lane. Line-ups cover the centre pages (the referee was Arthur Ellis – yes, he of future “It’s A Knockout” fame) with league tables on page 6 and a sign of the times on page 7 which features a map of how and where to park your car if using that mode of transport to attend. The club’s car park could, apparently, hold 1,300 motor vehicles. No mention of any charge levied, though.
The match itself was played on a treacherous, icy pitch and would no doubt necessitate a postponement these days. Derby quickly established a two goal lead through Jack Lee and Hughie McLaren before Dickie Davis pulled a goal back for the visitors, quickly followed by further strikes from Lee and Trevor Ford to leave the Rams 3-2 up at half-time. The second half saw six further goals, Lee netting twice to take his total to four on the day, second goals for McLaren, Davis and Ford and one for the visitor’s Tommy Wright. Phew! Final score Derby 6 Sunderland 5 – though it may have taken their toll on the Rams’ players nerves as they would go a further month before their next victory. It’s also illuminating to note that, despite conceding 5 at home, no defensive changes would be made for the subsequent games.
1958/59 Sunderland v Derby County
The 1950s weren’t particularly kind to either club – by 1958, the Rams were consolidating in the Second Division but for Sunderland, after 57 years as a top-flight club, relegation had seen them venture into new territory. With 3 wins from their opening 11 games, Derby sat in mid-table whereas Sunderland were finding it hard to adapt to life at a lower level. When the Rams arrived at Roker Park in early October, the home side were rock bottom of the table, having lost 7 of their 10 games. Defending seemed to be the issue, as they had already conceded 6 goals at Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday and 5 at Swansea.
For the match, Sunderland issued a 12 page programme costing 3d and, on page 3, manager Alan Brown opines that the older players need to help the youngsters in the team when things get tough. “Events worry them too much when they find themselves behind”, he writes. From the tone of the
editorial, it appears that the club were prepared to sacrifice success in favour of building a new team from the bottom up. “Soccer Gossip” on page 5 is simply a page of league tables and line-ups (which, once again, brings to mind an admittedly trivial question I never found an answer to – why did Sunderland’s reserve team play outside the Central League?). The starting XIs inhabit the centre pages (including a certain “Revie” at inside-left for the hosts), followed by a page of standard pen-pictures on the likely Rams line-up (which includes the observation that Albert Mays is not a bloke to take on at snooker unless you’re up to the task!). It’s a strange programme – bland yet quite distinctive and everything about it, from the design to the advertising, absolutely reeks of the late 1950s.
Ah, the match – yes, well, trust the Rams to be in town when the home team finally clicked! 23,051 in attendance to see two goals from Stan Anderson and one from Don Kichenbrand lift the home team level on points with 21st placed Lincoln. For the Rams, defeat here heralded a run of just 1 win in 7 games which effectively saw any hopes of promotion dashed before Christmas.
1973/74 Sunderland v Derby County [League Cup, 2nd replay]
I have, in my collection, a magazine featuring an article by a well-respected football writer who intones that “penalty shoot-outs are the brainchild of continental administrators forever dreaming up ways of bringing the game to an artificial conclusion”. Well, regardless of one’s opinion of the concept, back in 1973 cup-ties in England were played to a conclusion. However long it took!
After a 2-2 draw at the Baseball Ground and a 1-1 draw at Roker Park, Sunderland won the coin toss for home advantage to host the second replay (23 days after the initial match). Though a division below the Rams, the home side were FA Cup holders and included future Rams players Dave Watson and Billy Hughes in their ranks.
The first game at Roker Park had seen a 24 page programme issued costing 10p but the short notice given to the printers here (“less than 48 hours” according to the club) saw the programme reduced both in pages and price to 8 pages for 5p. There is definitely an air of “make do and mend” about it – the pen pictures are the same as in the earlier issue (word for word!) only turned 90 degrees on the page. The centre pages have a photographic montage of the “deadlock after 180 gruelling minutes” (note to those who own this programme – the Rams wore an all-white strip on this occasion), pages 6 and 7 feature an article on Ivor Broadis, who had played for the club in the late 1940s. Though certainly interesting, it definitely has the feel of a “space filler”! There’s also, in the corner, a small advert offering supporters a trip to Lisbon for the club’s upcoming ECWC tie against Sporting. A two day trip, hotel, match ticket and flights included, would set you back £44. Roughly what a ticket at their new ground for one solitary home match would cost a fan now!
From a personal point of view, if I may briefly indulge, season 73/74 was when I really started collecting programmes and, though these have little in terms of monetary value, I can sit down with a box of early 70s programmes from any club and come up with the same conclusion each and every time – this was the golden era for the hobby. Each club’s programme had its own unique character. Put simply, we don’t have that now and never will as long as we’re charged £3 and more for what amounts to a marketing publication. Today’s programmes are glossier and more mammoth than ever – but they’ve lost something. Just my opinion as a collector of 40+ years!
38,460 attended Roker Park that night – a remarkable gate for a second replay – but, sadly, it was Sunderland who won 3-0 to earn a home tie with Liverpool in the next round.
This article was first printed in issue 14 of Derby County Memories (September 2016). If you enjoyed reading it, why not buy copies of the magazine? See the About section for further details.