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Harry Hooper - R.I.P

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Harry Hooper - R.I.P Empty Harry Hooper - R.I.P

Post  Exilium on 2020-09-02, 8:04 pm

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14 June 1933 – 26 August 2020
Sunderland: 23 September 1960 – 19 July 1963
SAFC career 80 appearances / 19 goals.
Club historian Rob Mason pays tribute.

Sunderland AFC were saddened to learn of the death of former winger Harry Hooper who passed away on 26 August, aged 87.
Harry had been battling Alzheimer’s disease since 2011 and had spent the final year of his life in a care home in Norfolk. Harry starred for Sunderland in the early sixties. Before coming to Sunderland, he had become the first player to score for a British club in a European final – against Barcelona no less - and had been the costliest winger in England, as well as scoring against Sunderland the last time that six goals were conceded at home. An England ‘B’ and Under-23 international, Harry represented the Football League three times and was on standby for the 1954 World Cup although he never won a full cap. Interviewed in the club magazine Legion of Light in 2004 he explained why, “England had a couple of good wingers who kept me out’ – referring to the legendary Sir Stanley Matthews and Sir Tom Finney!
Born in Pittington, Harry was an amateur at Sunderland in 1950 having started with Southwick St. Hilda’s and Hylton Colliery Juniors. However his dad wouldn’t let him sign for Sunderland who at the time were signing big-name players with youngsters rarely given an opportunity. Instead Hooper signed for West Ham where his father, Harry senior, was a coach. Hooper senior had captained Sheffield United in the FA Cup final in 1936, a year when Sunderland were league champions.
Hooper junior debuted for the second division Hammers in 1951. He did so well that after 44 goals in 130 games Wolves paid a club record £25,000 for him in 1956. It was also a British record fee for a winger. Wolves were one of the top teams in the country at the time. Hooper had the task of taking over from club hero Johnny Hancocks but responded by being the club’s top-scorer with 19 goals in what was his solitary season at Molineux, Harry explaining in his Legion of Light interview that he moved on as Wolves wanted to change his game.
Hooper moved across the Second City to Birmingham, one of his goals in his first season coming in a 6-1 win at Roker Park in April 1958. Having already scored in European football as part of a London X1 who won an Inter-Cities Fairs Cup match in Basle in 1955, Harry scored on his European debut for Birmingham in the same competition in 1958 going on to score in four games out of five, including both legs of the semi-final, before scoring in the second leg of the final away to Barcelona as Birmingham lost on aggregate having become the first British club to reach a European final.
After 42 goals in 119 games for the Blues Harry finally got to play for Sunderland when £18,000 was paid for him 60 years ago this month. At Sunderland he would promise Charlie Hurley corners would be delivered with the lace of the ball away from target Hurley’s head, while he also became the provider of many of Brian Clough’s goals for Sunderland. He scored almost a goal per four games himself from the wing, including one in a win at Liverpool en-route the FA Cup quarter-final in his first season.
Those who saw him play knew Harry Hooper was a tremendous winger. A hero at all his clubs, he was destined to play for Sunderland and finally did.
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Post  Exilium on 2020-09-02, 8:06 pm

Hooper, Herd, Clough, Fogarty, Overfield

Was a canny forward line...

R.I.P Harry.
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Post  Exilium on 2020-09-02, 8:08 pm

..and I was at Roker  in 1958 when Brum beat us 6    - 1 ...... my first view of Harry Hooper...

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Post  Exilium on 2020-09-03, 10:50 am

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