For Immediate Release
REMEMBERING BOB STOKOE
SUNDERLAND football legend Bob Stokoe is to be remembered with a Civic Service in the City’s Minster on the anniversary date of the famous FA Cup win he masterminded.
The public Memorial Service will be held in Sunderland Minster next Wednesday (May 5) at 3pm. And for two hours over lunchtime that day, the Minster will house the FA Cup for visitors to come and inspect and sign the memorial book.
Sunderland Minster is making it clear that Sunderland supporters and members of the public will be welcome to come and sign the book, inspect the FA Cup and stay to take part in the Service. The Minster can accommodate 600 seated. After that, says Team Rector Canon Stephen Taylor, it will be standing room only.
The Mayor of Sunderland, Cllr Juliana Heron, will be the principal guest at the Service and will give a civic welcome to members of the Stokoe Family and the congregation. Canon Stephen Taylor will welcome guests and introduce the Mayor and also give the Blessing.
The Wembley atmosphere of 1973 when Sunderland pulled off the football upset of the decade to beat Leeds United 1-0 will be effortlessly re-created by the singing of the Wembley FA Cup Final anthem Abide With Me as the opening hymn for the service.
Sunderland’s goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery and captain Bobby Kerr have announced they will be attending the service and all the members of the victorious 1973 squad have been invited.
Well-known names from the City’s sporting, civic and business life are expected to be among the congregation with Sunderland AFC’s vice chairman John Fickling heading a contingent of representatives of the club.
It’s hoped footballing names will also be there from great rivals Newcastle United, the invitations including Sir John Hall, Sir Bobby Robson and present and former Newcastle players. Bob Stokoe was a former Newcastle player who took over the Sunderland team when it was struggling in the league and produced the most dramatic revival with a second cup final victory in 1973 — the first time a second division team had won the cup for 40 years.
International athletes Brendan Foster and Steve Cram have been invited to the service along with all Council Members.
During the service a member of his immediate family, Karen Craven, will tell the Bob Stokoe story and Bobby Kerr and Jimmy Montgomery will be reminders of that famous 1973 season. The Cup Final is remembered for Ian Porterfield’s goal and Jimmy Montgomery’s brilliant double save. It was also a triumph for captain Bobby Kerr, the team’s “little general” who had twice recovered from leg fractures. Dave Watson and Dennis Tueart went on to play for England.
After a solo rendering of ‘Nessum dorma’ from Turandot, the commentary on the May 5 FA Cup Final 31 years ago will be provided by leading sports journalist Doug Wetherall.
A special tribute will be given by Sunderland AFC Vice Chairman John Fickling and the latest progress report on the Bob Stokoe statue appeal will be given by Philip Morris. At the end of the service a retiring collection will be taken for the appeal. The service will be brought to a close with the singing of Jerusalem, whose immortal first line is most appropriate for such a footballing occasion …
“And did those feet in ancient time …”