Sunderland 1973 FA Cup Final - Monty's Save
Thursday, 26 March 2020 | Admin
As a Sunderland fan, I was too young to go to the 1973 FA Cup final, and even if I did want to go, getting tickets was almost impossible. Even in the 1970s, Sunderland had been starved of success, last winning the league in 1936 and FA Cup in 1937. So Sunderland getting to the 1973 FA Cup Final was a HUGE event for the town (now a city).
No one expected Sunderland to have a chance. After all, they were playing the best club by far in the UK and one of the best in Europe - Leeds United. I remember watching the preview shows for the final where all the pundits gave Sunderland absolutely no chance whatsoever. Only the Sunderland team and fans believed we could win...and win we did, in one of the greatest shocks in the history of the FA Cup.
Two moments in particular stand out in the game. In the 32nd Minute, Sunderland took the lead through Ian Porterfield, a moment not only of unbelievable joy, but also the thought that we were going to have to hang on to that lead for another 58 minutes.
And hang on we did, which brings us to the second, and in my view, most memorable moment. Leeds were absolutely battering Sunderland, yet we were somehow hanging on, playing with a spirit and commitment I have not seen since by any Sunderland team. Middway through the second half came an incredible double save from Jim Montgomery, that to this day, remains one the great saves. The first save was good enough - a close range header from Trevor Cherry. Montgomery managed to save it but the ball went immediately towards Peter Lorimer, who blasted it towards goal. Incredibly Montgomery, managed to scramble up and get his finger tips to the ball and turn it over the bar. What a save!
From that moment on, both the players and the fans believed we could win this, and win it we did. The scenes both at Wembley and subsequently in Sunderland, live with me forever. But also it has stuck in the minds of many a football fan. I have lost count how many times I have discussed the 1973 FA Cup Final with football fans in bars. There are not many memories for a Sunderland fan, but the 1973 Final and Monty's save is a special one for me.