safc.com catches up with former Black Cats stopper.
Former Sunderland goalkeeper Barry Siddall was the man handed the difficult task of taking over from legendary stopper Jimmy Montgomery between the sticks.
He arrived on Wearside in 1976 and went on to make just short of 200 appearances for the Lads during a six-year spell.
Siddall’s time in red and white was a rollercoaster ride, with one relegation, a promotion and a nail-biting end of season that saw Sunderland hang on to their top-flight status by one place and two points.
The 58-year-old looks back on his time on Wearside fondly, with that game from 1981 a vivid memory for Siddall.
“We were playing Liverpool and we needed to beat them to stay up, Bob Paisley was their manager at the time, and they were in the European Cup Final.
“We managed to get the win and afterwards Bob, who we all know was born near Sunderland, came in the dressing room with a crate of champagne to congratulate us.”
Despite playing for 13 different clubs throughout his 21-year career, Siddall still holds very high regard for Sunderland:
“It’s not until you first come to Sunderland that you realise how big a club it is and you certainly don’t realise how good a club it is until you leave and go somewhere else,” Siddall revealed.
“I had six years up north and I enjoyed every minute of it.
“The fans were fantastic. I always judge fans on away followings – and that was a major difference I found when I moved to Blackpool, a lot less fans travelled.”
The former keeper also revealed that he had recently seen a number of games he had played in showcased on ITV 4’s ‘Big Match Revisited’ programme.
“I didn’t plan on watching them,” Siddall explained, “but a couple of the lads at work told me they were on so I gave them a watch.
“I saw one game with Fulham and a game at Wrexham, which was a crucial victory.
“It’s really strange when you watch them back – but interesting. You forget how good players were from that era and who played when.
“I caught one game and saw Tim Gilbert playing at full-back, which brought back memories and then when you see the likes of Kevin Arnott and Gary Rowell – they were as good as any of today’s stars, but you don’t realise that until you watch old games back.”
Siddall now resides in Lancashire and has done since signing for Preston North End in 1992.
Following his retirement in 1993 the former stopper worked in a Post Office, keeping Royal Mail in safe hands.
He still follows Sunderland and manages to make the trip north to Stadium of Light at least once a season to watch the team in action.