The 'tache, the Legend!
For many, he is remembered as the “Mag Slayer”, others for his wonderful ‘tache. We caught up with Stan Cummins and asked him about his time on Wearside and how it compared to with his experiences at Minnesota Strikers and Kansas City Comets.
At the age of 20, Cummins joined Sunderland in what was then the Club's most expensive signing of their 100 year history having paid £300,000 for his services. True to form, he scored on his home debut in a 3–1 win over Notts. County in November 1979 at Roker Park. Winning the Daily Express National Five-a-side Championship at Wembley Arena that same month, Cummins would go on to score many vital goals for Sunderland including four goals against Burnley (1980), and on April 5 at Roker Park he scored the only goal that beat Newcastle United [that record stood for twenty-eight years until Sunderland beat Newcastle United again on home soil on 25 October 2008].
His most important goal came against Liverpool the following season. Going into the final game, nothing but a win would secure top flight football for another year. Cummins duly obliged, Sunderland were safe. That season, Cummins received the accolades he deserved, scooping two Player of the Year awards including North-East of England Outfield Player of the Year.
In the summer of 1981 he returned to the NASL and played for the Seattle Sounders alongside Bruce Rioch and Alan Hudson, winning the Trans-Atlantic Challenge Cup against the New York Cosmos, Glasgow Celtic and Southampton.
A short-lived stint with Crystal Palace saw Stan return for a second spell with the Black Cats before joining the Minnesota Strikers on a three-year contract in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). The Strikers reached the 1986 MISL Championship in his first season, narrowly losing to San Diego Sockers.
They were to be crowned MISL Eastern Division Champions in 1988 and on April 8, Cummins scored a hat-trick in the Strikers 4–2 victory over Chicago Sting. He was carried shoulder high from the playing field by his team-mates at the end of the game.
The club folded at the end of the season and so Cummins joined the Kansas City Comets for the 1988/89 season. He played in all of the Comets games that season. An entertaining and skillful player, Cummins' career spanned 14 years, 10 years in the English Football League where he made 251 appearances in both League and Cup Competitions scoring 50 goals, 2 seasons in the NASL and 4 years in the MISL, USA.
*Here’s what Stan had to say….
“Playing for SAFC was a dream come true for me!
Two season's under Ken Knighton and Frank Clark. Promotion in 1980 and voted Player of the Year in 1981, tremendous. Playing out of position for Alan Durban for the next two season's, not so much. The fan's never really saw the best of me playing wide on the right being naturally left footed.
Then in 1985 [after a ten year playing career in the old First Division] I signed a three year contract with the Minnesota Striker's in the USA to play in the MISL ( 6-a-side indoors on astro-turf). I loved it, just like when I used to play at the Youth Club with my mate's when I was a kid.
In ‘86 we were beaten in the Championship Series four games to three (best of seven, just like the NBA, MLB and the NHL). We were crowned Eastern Division Champion's in 1987. Unfortunately the Club folded after the 1987/88 season.
My contract being fulfilled I signed for the Kansas City Comet's for the 1988/89 season and played in every game for them that season just like I did for SAFC in the 1980/81 season. The Indoor game was a lot faster than the outdoor that's for sure but being small in stature it suited me more than the big guy's. I retired in 1990. Fourteen years of playing the game that I have loved since I was a youngster at the highest domestic level on two Continent's. Not bad for a North-East boy from Ferryhill.”
SAFC NASA would like to thank Stan for his contribution. A true gent and honorary member of our Supporters Association.
Sunderland AFC North America Supporters’ Association Fanzine Blog
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