Video of the Day: Sunderland vs Everton, March 1983
Sunderland play Everton at Roker Park this evening in a Premier League match which may secure their place in the top division and relegate their fierce rivals Newcastle United at the same time. Considering the extent to which Everton have only just been turning up for matches of late, never mind competing in them, it would appear that Sam Allardyce may be set to work his magic again and pull this club back from the brink, and even in the event of them failing this evening, they would still have another chance on Sunday, when a win in their match then would also be enough to send Newcastle down.
Things weren’t quite that urgent at the start of March 1983. Sunderland were in sixteenth place in a twenty-two team First Division and five points above the relegation places as they welcomed an Everton team that was in what sometimes felt at the time like a perpetual state of transition to Roker Park for a league match. Everton, for their part, were in seventh place in the table going into this match and had one eye on a place in the following year’s UEFA Cup, though it’s also possible that they may have been somewhat distracted by the thought of travelling to Old Trafford the following weekend for an FA Cup match against Manchester United.
These two teams would find themselves in identical league positions to those which they held on this day come the end of the season, but they were headed on different trajectories. Two years later they would meet at Goodison Park in a match would come to be remembered as one of the definitive performances of the brilliant Everton team of the mid-1980s, whilst Sunderland would be relegated at the end of the same season. Commentary comes from Roger Tames.
The photograph used to accompany this post is produced under a CC 3.0 licence, courtesy of Start Clarke.