All-time record appearance holder continues Wembley theme.Jimmy Montgomery’s 627 Sunderland appearances outweigh that of any other man to play for the club in its 134-year history.
Fondly remembered for his fine double save in the 1973 FA Cup Final victory over Leeds United, ‘Monty’, as he is affectionately known, also holds a European Cup winners medal after being an unused sub in Nottingham Forest’s 1980 final victory over Hamburg.
A pupil at St. Hilda’s School, a schoolmaster tipped off then Sunderland physiotherapist Johnny Watters about Jim’s availability.
Monty would sign for the Lads and play regularly in the youth team before his first team debut came in 1961 as a 17-year-old against Walsall in a League Cup tie.
Four months later Jimmy would make his league debut in a 2-1 victory over Derby County at Roker Park and he played a further 11 games at the end of the 1961-62 season as Alan Brown’s side finished third in Division Two.
His first full season with the club saw him play every single game as Brown’s side reached the semi-finals of the League Cup for the first time in the club’s history.
A third place finish was also achieved but a defeat on the last day against Chelsea prevented Sunderland from both promotion and the Division Two title.
Promotion was finally achieved in the 1963-64 season as Montgomery passed 100 consecutive games and kept six consecutive league clean sheets between January and March of ’64.
An injury at the start of the 1964-65 season and the form of Sandy McLaughlan meant Jimmy lost his place.
However, in true Montgomery fashion, he came back with a vengeance and from January 1966 he held an undisputed reign for over a decade until the arrival of Barry Siddall.
The moment that seared into the nation’s memory is the save many consider to be the greatest ever at Wembley.
It stemmed from a Peter Lorimer rocket in the 1973 FA Cup final as midway through the second half, with Sunderland leading 1-0, Trevor Cherry’s diving header was superbly saved by Jim but the ball rolled directly to the on-rushing Lorimer who shot fiercely at what seemed an unguarded net only for Montgomery to instinctively plunge across his goal and touch the ball onto the bar for Malone to clear.
Monty would remain Sunderland’s number one for the following three seasons until the departure of manager Bob Stokoe resulted in loan moves to Southampton and Birmingham City.
A League Cup defeat to Manchester United on 6th October 1976 proved to be Jim’s final bow in the green goalkeeper shirt of Sunderland.
Monty made 73 league appearances for the Blues after making his stay at St. Andrews permanent.
And, despite not playing a league game when he joined Forest, he would pick up a European Cup medal as an unused sub when John Robertson’s goal earned Brian Clough’s side a 1-0 win over Hamburg in the 1980 final.