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Home> News> Famous Doncastrians>

Doncaster News and Features: Famous Doncastrian: Alan Sunderland

Alan Sunderland was born on the 1 July 1953) in Conisbrough, little more is known about his early years.

His footballing career began at Wolverhampton Wanderers as an apprentice and he went on to make almost 200 appearances for them, including winning the 1974 League Cup and the Football League Second Division championship in 1976/7.

Then in late 1977 he joined Arsenal for 220,000 where he moved from midfield to up front and played in the 1978 FA Cup Final defeat to Ipswich Town.

His most famous moment came in the late drama in the 1979 FA Cup Final; Arsenal had gone 20 up against Manchester United, with goals from Brian Talbot and Frank Stapleton, and looked set for victory with only five minutes remaining.

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 32, and a dramatic late finish to win Arsenal the cup.

Sunderland stayed at Arsenal for another five years, forming an impressive partnership with Frank Stapleton and he was the club's top scorer in 197980 and 198182.

Sunderland also won a single England cap in a 21 friendly win over Australia in Sydney on 31 May 1980.

He played for Ipswich until 1986, then had a brief stint at Irish club Derry City, before retiring.

He opened a pub in Ipswich, before emigrating to Malta where he coached local team Birkirkara.

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