The Fan with the Upside Down Scarf

The Fan with the Upside Down Scarf
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The Fan with the Upside Down Scarf

By George Ford

A story that traces a football fans links to Sunderland Football Club.  Did he really pose on a 1973 cup final photo or was it just a coincidence.

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The Fan with the Upside Down Scarf

By George Ford

Wembley 1973, who is the fan with the upside down scarf?  Did he realise or was it a cunning plot to be spotted among the red and white hoards?  Well his story will probably help you decide….

In the late 50’s and the early 60’s our fan lived in a terraced house with a corner shop – nothing unusual in that – except the owner and grocer at the shop was none other than Bert Johnston, Sunderland centre half in the 1937 final and later first team trainer.  After delivering groceries Bert would have a kick about in the back lane with our fan, who by now was an avid Sunderland Supporter.

He was taken to matches in the 60’s by his Dad – nothing unusual in that – except his dad was a policeman who sat him, with his legs through the Roker Park Rails while he did his patrol around the pitch in his uniform.  Forty odd thousand and four policemen…how times have changed.

In the 60’s our fan had letters about SAFC published in the Football Echo and other northeast press – nothing unusual in that – except well, there are sixty nine of them and he has kept them all. Baxter, Herd, Mulhall, Sharkey, they were all given advice!

Then it was the ’72/ 73’ season and our fan was a young man.  Things started badly but then a new manager arrived – nothing unusual in that at Sunderland – except that this was Bob Stokoe.

Incredibly our fan decided it was a good time to collect newspaper cuttings of the cup run and would you believe it they took him all the way to Wembley, and he obviously wanted to include himself in any pictures because he was going to the final too! 

But there were thousand s of singing fans in that end where Porterfield scored and Monty saved.  Huge crowds at Wembley – nothing unusual in huge crowds – but where was the fan with the upside down scarf.

Our fan met Porter, shared lollipops with him actually but that’s another story, and they talked about Wembley, and talked about the fans…and about the fan with the upside down scarf.

A few weeks later it was Porter’s testimonial and our fan was there, he bought a programme – nothing unusual in that – except when he opened it there was a picture, and he was there, yes he was there! Scarf upside down, cheering for the Lads.  Our fan had found himself at last.

And of course that fan was me, and my name’s George, and I’ve still got the picture.  But what’s more exciting is, I keep an eye on the team every single home game.  They pass my picture a huge, enlarged version at the bottom of the stairs on the way to the pitch at the Stadium of Light.  Yes I’m there the fan with the upside down scarf looking after the Lads. Now, there’s something unusual in that.

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Project Details

Black Cats Stories

Fans of Sunderland AFC have been sharing their stories about supporting the Black Cats: the highs, the lows, and all the adventures along the way.

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