This film is part of Free

Return of the Cup

There’s a rapturous welcome from football fans to celebrate a fairy tale win as underdogs Sunderland return home with the FA Cup in 1973.

Amateur film 1973 10 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


It was one of the biggest shocks in the history of the FA Cup championship – and disastrous for the bookies. The whole city is a sea of red and white as Second Division team Sunderland beat the odds and return to Roker Park with a magical 1-0 Wembley win against formidable ‘football machine’ Leeds United. The victory also encourages a huge crowd next day for Sunderland’s last home match of the season against Queens Park Rangers.

It’s hard to imagine today’s footballers being impressed, but each Sunderland player received a gift of Pyrex tableware from Joplings department store for their win. Both newcomers to Sunderland in 1972, amateur filmmakers Michael and Linda Gough enjoyed producing this off-the-cuff newsreel-style documentary, filmed with Super 8 cameras on high speed Kodachrome stock (hence the graininess). This is superb local reportage, photographs compensating for the lack of live footage at Wembley Stadium. In 1972 the Goughs also joined the Newcastle and District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA), a sole survivor of the first five British amateur cine clubs formed back in 1927.