by Richard DJJ Bowdery
For those of us who watched the 1973 Cup Final, two images were forever etched in our memories that day.
The first was the Sunderland keeper’s heroic double save – from Leeds duo Trevor Cherry and Peter Lorimer – which denied the Yorkshire side an equalizer and, ultimately, the Cup.
The second was Sunderland manager Bob Stokoe, arms aloft and trilby on head, running onto the hallowed turf to embrace one player in particular.
In both cases it was the same man, Jimmy (Monty) Montgomery. But what became of him..?
Local boy Monty made his first-team debut for Sunderland in 1962 at the tender age of 17, in a League Cup tie against Walsall. Four months later came his league debut against Derby County in the old Second Division.
He went on to make 627 appearances for the Black Cats between 1962 and 1977, a club record.
After Stokoe left the club Monty found himself loaned out to Southampton and then Birmingham City who signed him on a permanent deal. He made over 70 appearances for the Blues before being snapped up by Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest, as understudy to Peter Shilton.
While at Forest he won another major honour when they beat Hamburg in the 1980 European Cup Final. But this time Monty was an unused substitute.
Hangs up his Gloves
With his playing days over, Monty became a goalkeeping coach at two of his former clubs: Birmingham City and Sunderland, following a spell as the Black Cats youth team manager. He was also active in the Players’ Association, a forerunner of the PFA.
Monty then moved from coaching players to working at Sunderland as a club host on match-days, entertaining guests with stories from his playing days.
Then in February 2012 he was appointed as the club’s first ever ambassador. He said at the time: “To be given the honour of being Sunderland AFC’s first ever ambassador is fantastic.”
Jimmy (Monty) Montgomery continues to be an integral part of Sunderland’s off-the-field activities. And his over 50 years of service to football – and in particular Sunderland AFC – has earned him a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
On hearing the news 71 year-old Monty said: “I am absolutely delighted…it’s a great honour to receive this award.”
When he goes to the Palace to pick up his medal, I wonder if Prince William (an Aston Villa fan) will pull Monty aside to ask about his wonderful double-save, 42 years on. After all the Prince can’t ask his grandmother, she wasn’t there that day. It was the Duke of Kent who presented the trophy.