Alan Sunderland

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Alan Sunderland
Personal information
Full name Alan Sunderland[1]
Date of birth (1953-07-01) 1 July 1953 (age 62)
Place of birth Conisbrough, Yorkshire, England
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Playing position Forward
Youth career
1969–1971 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1971–1977 Wolverhampton Wanderers 158 (30)
1977–1984 Arsenal 206 (55)
1984 Ipswich Town (loan) 15 (3)
1984–1986 Ipswich Town 43 (8)
1987 Derry City 4 (2)
National team
1974 England U23 1 (0)
1976 England U21 1 (0)
1978–1981 England B 7 (1)
1980 England 1 (0)
Teams managed
1996–1997 Birkirkara

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Alan Sunderland (born 1 July 1953) is an English former footballer who played in the Football League for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Arsenal and Ipswich Town. He was capped once for England.[2]


Sunderland was born in Conisbrough, Yorkshire, and began his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers as an apprentice.[3] He made nearly 200 appearances in total for the Midlands side,[4] and won the 1974 League Cup[5] and the Football League Second Division championship in the 1977 season.[6]

In November 1977, he joined Arsenal for £220,000;[7] initially a midfielder, he switched position to centre forward[8] and became a regular, playing in the 1978 FA Cup Final, which Arsenal lost to Ipswich Town.[9]

Sunderland's most famous moment came in the 1979 FA Cup Final; Arsenal had gone 2–0 up against Manchester United, with goals from Brian Talbot and Frank Stapleton, and looked set for victory with only five minutes remaining. However, United scored twice in three minutes, with goals from Gordon McQueen and Sammy McIlroy, and extra time loomed. In the very last minute of the match, however, Arsenal pushed forward in a desperate counter-attack; Liam Brady fed Graham Rix on the left wing, and his cross was converted by Sunderland at the far post to make the score 3–2, and win Arsenal the cup.[10]

Sunderland stayed at Arsenal for another five years, forming an impressive partnership with Frank Stapleton for two years;[11] he was the club's top scorer in 1979–80 and 1981–82, and featured in the Arsenal sides that lost the 1980 FA Cup[12] and Cup Winners' Cup finals.[13]

Sunderland also won a single England cap in a 2–1 friendly win over Australia in Sydney on 31 May 1980,[1] and also represented his country at under-21 (as an over-age player),[14] under-23[15] and 'B' team level.[16]

However, after a spate of injuries and the arrival of Charlie Nicholas, Sunderland found himself pushed out of the first team. He joined Ipswich Town on loan in February 1984, helped them to avoid relegation from the First Division, and made the move permanent later in the summer.[17] He played for Ipswich until 1986, then had a brief stint at Irish club Derry City, before calling it a day. Following retirement, he opened a pub in Ipswich, before emigrating to Malta[18] where he coached local team Birkirkara.[19]


  1. ^ a b "Alan Sunderland". Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  2. ^ Alan Sunderland career at Post War English & Scottish Football League A–Z Player's Database
  3. ^ Davies, Gareth A (17 May 2005). "My Sport: Alan Sunderland". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  4. ^ "Players. A–Z". Wolves-Stats. Archived from the original on 1 November 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  5. ^ Fort, Didier (25 February 2001). "England – League Cup Finals 1961–2001". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 12 October 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  6. ^ "General Stats: 1976–1977". Wolves-Stats. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  7. ^ "On this day in...". Arsenal F.C. Retrieved 17 November 2009. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Alan Sunderland". Arsenal Player Database. Arsenal F.C. Archived from the original on 26 October 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  9. ^ Fox, Norman (8 May 1978). "The country blues show at Wembley". The Times. p. 13. 
  10. ^ "'The Five Minute Final' stuns Manchester Utd". Arsenal F.C. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  11. ^ "Stapleton's Arsenal years". Manchester United F.C. 15 September 2006. Retrieved 17 November 2009. Initially I had Malcolm MacDonald as my strike partner, but later it was Alan Sunderland, who I formed a great partnership with. With him it just worked. 
  12. ^ Fox, Norman (12 May 1980). "West Ham's vision of glory carries the day". The Times. p. 10. 
  13. ^ White, Clive (15 May 1980). "Valencia beat Arsenal on penalties". The Times. p. 12. 
  14. ^ Courtney, Barrie (10 January 2004). "England – U-21 International Results 1976–1985 – Details". RSSSF. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  15. ^ Courtney, Barrie (27 March 2004). "England – U-23 International Results- Details". RSSSF. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  16. ^ Courtney, Barrie (21 March 2004). "England – International Results B-Team – Details". RSSSF. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  17. ^ "Sunderland on contract". The Times. 7 July 1984. p. 32. 
  18. ^ Hart, Michael (18 May 2005). "Sunderland gone from game but never forgotten". Evening Standard (London). Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  19. ^ "Five-minute final: Where are they now?". BBC Sport. 19 May 2005. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 

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