john hawley

Where Are They Now: John Hawley

Published:
by Kate Smith

safc.com catch up with former Black Cats star.

Fomer Sunderland man John Hawley was a recent guest at the Stadium of Light, appearing in the Black Cats bar.

The Yorkshireman shared anecdotes about his time at the club after he was brought to Sunderland by manager Ken Knighton in 1980. 

Sunderland supporters are often stopping me to chat. They always remember my three goals against City at Maine Road and I certainly don’t mind talking about it

- John Hawley

Hawley averaged almost a goal every other game during his spell with the club, but admits his problem was the amount of games he played.

 “My goals per season record is fantastic; it’s just a shame about my games per season ratio not being so good,“ Hawley quipped.

The striker kicked off his career at his hometown club , Hull City in 1972, before making the move to Leeds United six years later.

After two seasons at Elland Road and a fruitful time in front of goal, Hawley made the switch to Roker Park.

Despite only playing 25 games in red and white, Hawley is fondly remembered by Sunderland fans, most notably for his hat-trick against Manchester City that fired the team to the top of the league.

“Sunderland supporters are often stopping me to chat. They always remember my three goals against City at Maine Road and I certainly don’t mind talking about it.

“It was a fantastic feat to score the hat-trick that put the club in the top spot and have all the other club’s looking up at us.”

After two years with Sunderland, Hawley was found surplus to requirements, with both Gary Rowell and Stan Cummins enjoying a rich vein of form.

Arsenal paid £40,000 for Hawley’s services and he notched three strikes in 21 games before being loaned out to Leyton Orient and his former club Hull City.

He moved to Bradford City in 1983 after being unable to hold onto a first-team place with the Gunners and finished his career three years later with Scunthorpe United.

“Once I found out the manager didn’t want me it was an easy decision to move on, playing for Sunderland was a fantastic experience and I’ve many great memories but it was the right time for me to leave when I did.”

Fifty-eight year-old Hawley now plies his trade at the club where he launched his career; however he has swapped his football boots for suits as he works in the corporate hospitality division at the KC Stadium.

Hawley is at the hub of each Hull City matchday but he still finds time to get back to the north east every now and again, most recently he was at Sunderland’s home game with Manchester United.

“I’ve been back to the Stadium of Light a few times; it’s a fantastic venue.” Hawley added.

“I still think of it as a big privilege to have played at Roker Park, however marvellous the stadium is you could never underestimate the Roker roar.”