Legend hails Wickham impact

by Kate Smith

73 star Halom on season turning point.

Vic Halom made an immediate impression when he sealed his move to Sunderland back in 1973.

The front man played an integral part in the club’s 1973 FA Cup success, the same year he arrived at Roker Park, with memorable goals against Manchester City and Arsenal in the famous cup run and a goal on his home debut in a 4-0 Wear-Tees derby win over Middlesbrough.

His second game at Roker was arguably Halom’s finest moment in red and white as his blistering strike not only knocked favourites Manchester City out of the FA Cup but also made the history books as one of the greatest ever Sunderland goals.

That defining moment in Halom’s Sunderland career came only weeks after his arrival, whereas current striker Connor Wickham had to wait almost three seasons for that similar instance, against the same opposition.

After returning from his loan spell with Leeds United in late March, Wickham was drafted back into the squad following an injury to Steven Fletcher.

Gus Poyet handed the 21 year-old a start in the Wednesday evening trip to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City and since that game the young striker has not looked back.

He stunned the Blues with two late goals – stabbing home Emanuele Giaccherini’s pinpoint cross in the 73rd-minute and driving home an emphatic second seven minutes from time, which almost saw Sunderland leave with maximum points.

He followed that man of the match performance with an equaliser against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, before bagging another brace in the crucial home victory over Cardiff City.

After that game, 1973 FA Cup winner Halom was full of praise for the forward:

“There were a few occasions in the season where the team seemed to lose direction and there was no consistency in performances,” Halom explained.

“But for me, Connor Wickham’s return was a huge turning point. He was introduced back into the side after being on loan and he came in and did so well.

“His performances seemed to spur the team on and instilled a bit of belief into the side; from there we saw the side’s fortunes turn around.”

Halom went on to say that his personal highlight in Sunderland’s memorable ascent to safety was the penultimate game of the season:

“For me the game against West Brom at the Stadium of Light exemplified that run at the end of the season.

“The team had struggled at home and a lot was depending on the result; there was a packed house and the atmosphere was fantastic and the players delivered on the day.

“I was very happy with that result,” Halom concluded.