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Post  cyprussyd on 2020-01-12, 12:21 pm

Sunderland players pay tribute to 'gentleman' steward George Baker as he retires after 60 years
Former Sunderland boss Peter Reid was among those who wished the Black Cats' longest-serving member of staff a happy retirement


By
James Hunter


  • 12:12, 12 JAN 2020


[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]George Baker, 87, was Sunderland's special guest at the match against Wycombe. George, who is retiring from his role at the club after 60 years, led both teams out before later being presented with the match ball. 



Sunderland players and managers from down the years have paid tribute to long-serving tunnel steward George Baker following his retirement after 60 years at the club.
The 87-year-old, whose day job saw him work as a plumber in the shipyards, began working for club on matchdays at Roker Park in 1959, starting out in charge of the car park before within weeks then-manager Alan Brown asked him to take charge of the tunnel area.


And Baker has done so at Roker Park and then the Stadium of Light ever since, looking after the tunnel and dressing room area, as well as taking care of match officials - a role which has seen him earn the respect of referees past and present.

At yesterday's game against Wycombe Wanderers, Baker and his family - including grandson Alex, who also works for the club - were greeted by a guard of honour formed by fellow stewards, and he was the club's boardroom guest for the day.


[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
George Baker, 87, was Sunderland's special guest at the match against Wycombe. George, who is retiring from his role at the club after 60 years, led both teams out before later being presented with the match ball. (Image: Sunderland AFC)
He also walked out alongside the referee Alan Davies carrying the match ball prior to kick-off, and he was presented with the ball at the end of the game by club captain Grant Leadbitter.
Baker was a firm favourite of players and managers, and club ambassador and former captain and interim manager Kevin Ball said: "Everyone in football knows and loves George, he's an absolute legend.



"I have had the pleasure of knowing him personally for many years; he is a true gentleman and a wonderful servant of Sunderland AFC.
"He's also a very unassuming man and won't be expecting any of this today - but I can't think of anyone who deserves it more."

Former manager Peter Reid took to social media to offer his own tribute, as did ex-players including Lee Howey, Darren Holloway, and Neil Wainwright.



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Peter Reid

✔@reid6peter





[ltr]What a great person, a true gentleman. Thanks George [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][/ltr]



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155
9:24 PM - Jan 11, 2020
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[/ltr]





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Lee Howey@howey_lee





[ltr]A true gent and SAFC in his blood [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]



James Hunter

✔@JHunterChron

End of an era today as tunnel steward George Baker retires at the age of 87, after 60 years working at the club.
Dedicated to #SAFC and a lovely guy - all the very best, George


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32
7:18 PM - Jan 11, 2020
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James Hunter

✔@JHunterChron

 · 22h





[ltr]End of an era today as tunnel steward George Baker retires at the age of 87, after 60 years working at the club.
Dedicated to #SAFC and a lovely guy - all the very best, George[/ltr]




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Darren Holloway@HOLLA1977


[ltr]Enjoy that retirement George. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][/ltr]




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8:28 PM - Jan 11, 2020
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Neil Wainwright

✔@NeilWainwright7





[ltr]A fantastic gentleman. Happy retirement George. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]



Sunderland AFC

✔@SunderlandAFC

After an incredible 60 years at #SAFC, our longest-serving member of staff has retired. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

George Baker, 87, was our special guest at Saturday's match and he led both teams out before later being presented with the match ball.

A true club legend.

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11:15 AM - Jan 12, 2020 · Middleton, England
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Sunderland chairman Stewart Donald added: "It is people such as George that make this football club very special.
"To have given 60 years of service is quite incredible and we are delighted to be able to give George a special send-off as a token of our immense gratitude."

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cyprussyd
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Post  Hieronymus on 2020-01-12, 2:15 pm

Now THIS is the Sunderland I love! Very Happy
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Post  cyprussyd on 2020-01-12, 3:51 pm

Hieronymus wrote:Now THIS is the Sunderland I love! Very Happy
This and the wonderful ovation for the 13 year old Wycombe fan who died, both very moving.

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Post  Hieronymus on 2020-01-13, 9:32 am

cyprussyd wrote:
Hieronymus wrote:Now THIS is the Sunderland I love! Very Happy
This and the wonderful ovation for the 13 year old Wycombe fan who died, both very moving.
Yes, it sounded wonderful on radio and both Nick Barnes and Gary Bennett mentioned him and sent condolences and best wishes to his family, which was a nice thing to do too.
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