Sunderland Legends John Byrne

John Byrne Sunderland head to Wembley

Sunderland Legends John Byrne

Tough work this close season malarkey, still another few weeks til we’re into the match previews/reviews. So thought I’d have a look at some SAFC players who have made an impact. 

First up in Sunderland Legends John Byrne. 

Whilst he only played 33 games for Sunderland- scoring in every round in the run to Wembley and simply oozing class, means he’s fondly remembered on Wearside. It also provides a seamless link into my footballing life.

Sunderland Legends John Byrne

Great shirt, great hair

John Byrne made his name at York City

Despite hailing from the wrong side of the Pennines, John made his name at York City. 

We all know that football is absolutely brilliant and we all have our memories of our formative years watching the beautiful game. My love affair with watching live footie started in 1982/83, been to a few Leeds, Man U, Sheffield Weds games previously ~ but my first trip to Bootham Crescent was to see City beat Scunthorpe 2-1 on a Sunday, it was buzzing, a Denis Smith winner, (whatever happened to him?), and a front pairing of Walwyn and Byrne. All of a sudden, I was in love with live footie.

John Bryne and Keith Walwyn Legends at York City

Proper footballs

The season after, Byrne was simply breathtaking, 28 goals, numerous assists, and a confidence and swagger that I’ve only seen in a handful of players in my lifetime.

City stormed the league, , 101 points, 96 goals, the first Div 4 game to feature on MOTD, (that didn’t end so well!?). Stood on the pitch, watching the trophy being lifted, my dad advised me, “enjoy this, football won’t always be like this…… wise, wise words”

Football ~ brilliant

Future Sunderland legends at York City

Of the 5 men in the middle, 4 ended up at SAFC

The City team of 83/84 was fantastic, everyone played their part; but John Byrne was the spark, the poster boy, had magic in his boots – a perfect ode to 80’s football.

JB also took lead vocals on the end of season 45…. “Ello Den, gotta new striker?” Referring to Keith Houchen, who ended up scoring a few big goals himself!

elo Den gotta new Striker lead vocals by John Byrne
A few years later, den did indeed have a new striker…..

Soon after he was gone to QPR……

John Byrne moved to QPR

Hair 10/10…shirt 10/10

John Byrne pictured with Keith Walwyn

Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved.
RIP – Big Keith Walwyn

John Byrne signs for Sunderland

1990…. I move to Sunderland, and start to fall in love again. Anyone who went to Roker Park would do well not to fall in love with the place and the experience…..

Roker Park


John Byrne Sunderland Legend

Many reading this will be familiar with Sunderland… but what a place. The whole City lives and breathes football, there’s no question of not supporting Sunderland. Taxis, supermarkets, work… wherever you go football runs through the veins of the city.

Via QPR, Brighton and Le Havre, Byrne was signed by Denis Smith at Sunderland. His hair was if anything even better by now, he was the talisman in Sunderland’s run to the FA CUP Final in 1992, scoring in every round.

We’re off to Wembley – Sunderland Legends John Bryne

John Byrne Sunderland head to Wembley John Byrne Sunderland
Sadly, like in 2014, Sunderland met the best team in the country by a country mile.

He only played 33 times for Sunderland, but he was pure class.

So…… is it ok to kind of have 2 clubs? I’m sure there will be loads of city fans who say, no way, (I understand that). It helps that the relationship between he clubs is good, SAFC fans were as supportive as any when the arse fell out of City in 2001. There’s also numerous names linking the clubs, MacPhail, Marco, Smith, Busby, Sbragia, Procter, Crosby, Saxton etc etc. We both also have an absolute shithouse of the club along an A Road, that think they are massive and have a lot of bellends following them?

We also both like a weds night League Cup outing to Old Trafford….

Sunderland v Man Utd York City beat Man Utd

Heart VS Head is a much used phrase in football….. sometimes, (in exceptional circumstances), it’s possible to have Heart VS Heart?

Roker Park Sunderland

Beautiful, but had to move on…..

Decent….. but crucially Sir Bob Player a masterstroke bringing the ground into the city centre.

Stadium Of Light Sunderland

Bootham Cresent York City, beautiful….sadly time to move on

Bootham Cresent York City York City new ground Monks Cross

August 19/20 you say Jason?”
lets hope the JM masterplan of moving away from the city towards Malton works out?

Whilst it never got as far as being publicly announced, SAFC had agreed to play City in July 2019 as a curtain raiser to the new stadium. Maybe July 2020, if it’s finished?

Part 2/10 online Saturday 20th July.




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RT @christoph_21: Brilliant from @squires_david…

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@DUCKmagstoke @KellyCates Watching Sunderland vs Newcastle with Roy Keane — lovely FTM…

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Game of opinions – but 82 minutes watching this eclipses 5 hours on Netflix….. great work Ged …

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