Player of the Day: Gordon Armstrong


Attacking midfielder in the spotlight.

Gordon Armstrong is seventh in the Black Cats’ all-time appearances list after racking up a mammoth 416 games for Sunderland in a ten-year spell between 1985 and 1995.

One of the club’s best ever local discoveries, Armstrong was the first Sunderland midfielder since 1973 FA Cup winning captain Bobby Kerr to score 50 league goals for the Lads.

The Newcastle-born midfielder made his debut at the end of the 1984-85 campaign in an away defeat at West Bromwich Albion as Len Ashurst’s Black Cats were relegated from the top-flight.

Gordon didn’t feature at the beginning of the 1985-86 campaign but he was re-introduced by manager Lawrie McMenemy in December and he rewarded his manager with a goal in his second appearance of the campaign in a 1-1 home draw with Crystal Palace.

Armstrong missed just one game in all competitions in the 1986-87 season as Sunderland were relegated to the Third Division after a relegation play-off defeat to Gillingham.

Gordon did score two of the Black Cats’ last three league games in a mini-revival under Bob Stokoe, though the eight points the legendary boss picked up came too late to prevent the drop.

Armstrong was an integral part of Denis Smith’s Third Division title winners with five goals from midfield as Sunderland lost just seven of their 46 league games.

It was in the 1989-90 season that Gordon began to make his biggest impact with his superb aerial and scoring ability proving vital as the Black Cats returned to the top flight.

Armstrong’s return of 13 goals in 59 games was his best during his time on Wearside and he once again didn’t miss a single match during the campaign, though Sunderland were relegated to Division Two after a final day defeat at Manchester City.

In his total of 11 goals in the following season was his memorable last-minute header to defeat Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-final at Roker Park.

He remained with Sunderland until 1995 when Peter Reid led the Black Cats back to the top flight in his first full season in charge.

Loan spells with Bristol City and Northampton Town preceded his free transfer to Bury where he spent two seasons before joining Burnley.

During his time with the Clarets he made over 100 league appearances before he ended his career with a spell at Accrington Stanley.