Roker Park

Player of the Day: Jackie Ashurst

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1970's defender in the spotlight.

Jackie Ashurst made 163 appearances for Sunderland in a nine-year spell between 1971 and 1980.

No relation to club legend Len Ashurst, Jackie was born in Coatbridge, Scotland in 1954 and he signed for the Black Cats from Renton Juniors as an apprentice in 1969.

Ashurst’s first Sunderland appearance came in an Anglo Italian Cup tie at Atalanta, though his league debut followed at the start of the 1972-73 season in a 1-0 win at Millwall.

Jackie’s debut season saw the Black Cats famously win the 1973 FA Cup, though he would only appear in early round draws with Notts County and Reading.

The young defender was limited to just 21 appearances during the following campaign with the presence of Dave Watson, Dave Young and Rod Belfitt leaving the Scot fourth in the pecking order.

However, the experience Ashurst was getting proved beneficial to his later Sunderland career and he scored his first goal for the club in a 4-3 win at Luton Town on the last day of the 1973-74 season.

The 1974-75 season followed a similar pattern and it looked as if Jackie may leave until an injury to Jeff Clarke saw Ashurst make 20 appearances at the end of the 1975-76 campaign as Bob Stokoe’s side secured the league title and promotion to the top-flight.

For the remainder of his time on Wearside he would become a regular, returning 35 appearances as a 2-0 defeat at Everton on the last day of the campaign ensured the Black Cats would suffer immediate relegation the second tier.

Jackie missed only four league games as Jimmy Adamson’s side failed to secure an immediate return to the top-flight with a sixth place finish.

The Scot had earlier chipped in with two goals during the season – a penalty in a 1-1 home draw with Orient and a strike in a 3-1 home win over Oldham Athletic.

Ashurst fell out of the picture in 1978-79 and made only 11 appearances, scoring his last goal for the club in the last home game of the season – a 2-1 defeat to Cardiff City.

Blackpool made Jackie their record signing in October 1979 parting with £110,000 to secure his services.

Spells with Carlisle United, Leeds United and Doncaster Rovers followed before he enjoyed time in non-league football.