Bob Stokoe

That hat! That coat! That dance!

Player Biography
Full name: Robert Stokoe
Date of birth: September 21, 1930
Date of death: February 1, 2004
Clubs played for: Newcastle, Bury
Clubs managed: Bury, Charlton, Rochdale, Carlisle, Blackpool, Sunderland, Bury, Blackpool, Rochdale, Sunderland
Bob Stokoe
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Club Career

He may forever be remembered for his chaotic clothing and crazy dancing after managing Second Division Sunderland to an unforgettable FA Cup victory over the mighty Leeds in 1973. But Bob Stokoe previously had strong ties with Sunderland’s local rivals Newcastle, spending 10 years as a quick-tackling centre-half with the club and even landing an FA Cup winners' medal with the Toon against Manchester City in 1955, where he shackled future adversary Don Revie.

Sent to Bury in 1960 in a deal which took John McGrath to Newcastle, he quickly became club captain and player-manager at Gigg Lane before hanging up his boots in 1964.

Club Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1950-60 Newcastle 261 4
1960-61 Bury 82 0

Managerial Career

Bury was just the start of a managerial career that took him to Charlton, Rochdale, Carlisle and Blackpool. However, he will always be best remembered for leading Sunderland to Wembley just six months after joining the club from the Seasiders.

Despite having an average managerial CV, Stokoe gelled with Sunderland immediately. Fans forgot his Newcastle background as he landed the FA Cup, then led his team to the 1976 Second Division championship. His failing health forced him to resign as manager after five defeats in the first six games of the following season in the First Division, but he returned to manage once more, again at Bury.

Stokoe even returned to Sunderland for a second spell in charge in 1987, with the club fighting to stave off relegation to football’s third tier. Not even Stokoe could save them that time, though, and when his contract wasn’t renewed he retired from the game.

He died at the age of 73 in 2004, but his legendary status on Wearside is assured.

Key Games

Sunderland 1-0 Leeds United (FA Cup final, May 5, 1973)

Nobody gave Second Division Sunderland a cat in hell’s chance against the all-conquering Leeds in the 1973 FA Cup final. But Ian Porterfield’s first half strike gave the underdogs the edge and with keeper Jim Montgomery in inspired form – his second half double save was nothing short of miraculous – Sunderland held on 'til the final whistle, at which point a Trilby-wearing Stokoe did a memorable jig of joy all over the Wembley turf.

Sunderland 2-1 Bolton (Second Division, April 19, 1976)

A crowd of 51,983 packed into Roker Park willing Stokoe’s men to the victory against Bolton that would guarantee promotion to the First Division. On a bright and sunny day, the home side did the business. Tony Towers gave Sunderland the lead from the penalty spot and ‘Pop’ Robson added a second, before Bolton pulled a goal back to provide a nail-biting climax. In the end all was well, however, and Sunderland were up!

Sunderland 2-0 Portsmouth (Second Division, April 24, 1976)

With promotion to the First Division assured, Sunderland wanted to go one better by securing the Second Division title. This they did in the midst of a carnival atmosphere at Roker Park as Joe Bolton scored a peach in a 2-0 win over Portsmouth. And Stokoe had his hands on another trophy.

Honours

Club Competition Year
Newcastle FA Cup 1955
Bury Third Division Championship 1961
Sunderland (as manager) FA Cup 1973
Second Division Championship 1976

Did You Know...?

When Stokoe arrived at Sunderland on November 23, 1972 the club was on a desperate run of just four wins in 18 Second Division games and were fourth from bottom of the table. Six months later they were FA Cup winners!

A statue of Stokoe wearing his trilby, overcoat and red Sunderland tracksuit dancing a jig across the Wembley turf was erected in his honour outside the club’s Stadium Of Light. After winning the FA Cup Stokoe said: “I should pack it all in. There’ll never be another moment like this.”

Brian Clough would not allow Stokoe’s name to be used in his presence because he had accused the stricken Clough of “codding” and told him to “f***ing get up” when the striker suffered his career-ending injury against Bury. Stokoe was also an enemy of Clough’s Leeds predecessor Don Revie, whom he accused of attempted match-fixing.

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From the back pages

Newcastle 3-1 Manchester City Published: May 9, 1955

FA Cup final match report

That Wonderful Wembley Feeling! Published: May 3, 1973

Bobby Kerr looks forward to the FA Cup final

Sunderland 1-0 Leeds Published: May 7, 1973

FA Cup final match report

Sunderland 2-1 Bolton Published: April 20, 1976

Second Division match report

Blackpool 1-0 Sunderland Published: April 21, 1976

Second Division match report

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