SAFC LEGENDS SERIES – Bob Stokoe
Born in Mickley, Northumberland in 1930, Bob Stokoe is one of very few people that is a legend of both bitter rivals Sunderland and Newcastle.
He began his playing career at The Magpies in 1950, playing 261 matches for them, scoring 4 goals over a 10 year period.
Stokoe was a very respectable centre half during his playing days and he even helped Newcastle win the F.A Cup in 1955.
But enough about the mags, Stokoe took over The Black Cats, as manager, in 1972 when they were fourth from bottom in the second division and struggling with terrible form.
Despite losing his first game in charge, Stokoe turned the form around on Wearside and even took them to the F.A Cup final just 6 months into his reign.
Sunderland faced the cup holders, Leeds United in the 1973 F.A Cup final, and surprised the nation by beating them 1-0 thanks to a goal from Ian Porterfield, and a stunning double save from Jimmy Montgomery, which meant The Black Cats had won their second F.A Cup.
In the 1975-76 season, Stokoe managed Sunderland to the Second Division title, however he resigned the following season as they failed to win in their first 9 games.
Sunderland’s struggle in the First Division under Stokoe did not damage his reputation within the Mackem faithful as he will always be remembered for that famous F.A Cup victory and the promotion to the top tier.
Stokoe managed plenty of different clubs, bit he did make a habit of joining his old teams.
This included 2 stints at Blackpool, 2 at Bury and 3 at Carlisle United before eventually finishing his career as caretaker manager of Sunderland in 1987 to try and save them from relegation to the third teir for the first time in their history.
Unfortunately, it was too late and the legendary manager was unable to keep Sunderland up.
Stokoe died in 2004 at the age of 73 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for a long while and eventually he was also diagnosed with Pneumonia which caused him to sadly pass away.
He was widely respected by both Sunderland and Newcastle fans and he will always be remembered as a true Gentleman.
Stokoe currently has a statue standing outside of the Stadium of Light in memory of one of the clubs greatest ever managers.