Birthday surprise for former winger

by Kate Smith

Scottish star reflects on stint on Wearside.

1950s star John McSeveney marked his 83rd birthday with a cameo appearance in the Black Cats Bar last weekend.

The former winger made 35 appearances in red and white between 1951 and 1955 and despite almost 60 years passing since his time with Sunderland, the Scot still has very high regard for the club

McSeveney started his relationship with the north east after moving down from Hamilton to work as an engineer at Wearmouth Colliery, the site that the Stadium of Light sits on today.

At 20 years old he made his debut for Sunderland and was left in awe of the atmosphere he experienced during his first game at Roker Park: 

"The noise of the famous Roker roar was magnificent, something that has always stuck with me," McSeveney told fans in the Black Cats Bar.

"I came to Sunderland thinking I was a good player and I was quickly put in my place."

The winger moved to Wearside at a time where the club had a number of big stars and big money signings, including Welsh forward Trevor Ford, Len Shackleton, Willie Watson, Billy Bingham and Dickie Davis.

"Players at Sunderland were the cream of the crop, it was the Bank of England team as it was known back then and I was star-struck."

After a stop-start time on Wearside, where he met and married his wife, the Scot moved to Wales, where he enjoyed fruitful spells with Cardiff City and Newport County, before finishing his career with Hull City in 1964.

During his time with the Tigers, McSeveney extended his links with Wearside even further when he worked alongside Sunderland legend Ian Porterfield.

The 1973 FA Cup match-winner was manager of Hull City at the time and McSeveney revealed that he's never met a man more genuine than the former goal scorer.

"To me Ian was Mr Magic, an absolutely fantastic guy who would do anything for you - he knew his football too. Ask anyone, anyone who knew Ian will speak highly of him," McSeveney explained.

The former SAFC man shared his anecdotes during a pre-match talk-in in the Black Cats Bar.  

Ahead of every game at the Stadium of Light fans can here from a club legend in the bar while enjoying a complimentary dish of the day.

McSeveney joined Jimmy Montgomery at the game as part of a birthday surprise arranged by his son after travelling up from South Yorkshire.

"My son sprung the surprise on me, I didn't know where we were going," he beamed.

"I was last at the Stadium of Light for a game last season and my word it's a fabulous ground, a real sight to behold when I think back to some of the grounds I played at during my heyday."