Tributes to Sunderland’s ‘player of the century’ Charlie Hurley after death aged 87

Tributes have poured in after the death of Sunderland’s player of the century, Charlie Hurley, aged 87.

One of the most adored players in Sunderland AFC’s history and hailed as the “greatest centre-half the world has ever seen” and “the King” by fans, he spent 12 years at the club after joining from Millwall in 1957. He remains one of only 10 players to surpass 400 appearances in red and white and was crowned their player of the century in 1979.

He featured in all but one game of the club’s 1963-64 promotion winning season, and was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame. His final visit to Wearside came in November 2016 when the gates bearing his name, which used to form the entrance to the club’s training ground, were installed as a permanent fixture at the Stadium of Light.

Born in Cork and raised in London he also clocked up 40 caps for the Republic of Ireland. On leaving Sunderland, he ended his playing career at Bolton Wanderers, before managing Reading for five years.

A statement on the Sunderland AFC website read: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Charlie Hurley, one of the greatest and most beloved players in the history of Sunderland AFC. Named the Club’s Player of the Century in 1979, The King was a giant in the story of SAFC and his legacy on Wearside will forever endure.

“A man mountain on the pitch and a gentleman off it, Charlie’s aura and charisma ensured that he was adored and idolised by supporters and team-mates alike. Charlie adored Sunderland and Sunderland will always adore him. Our heartfelt sympathies are with his family, and all who loved him.”

Sunderland legend Charlie Hurley poses with the old training ground gates that bear his name
Sunderland legend Charlie Hurley poses with the old training ground gates that bear his name

Paul Cooke, Football Association of Ireland president said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Charlie Hurley’s family and friends at this difficult time.

“It is over 50 years since Charlie won the last of his 40 caps, but it is a measure of the esteem in which he was held in football that every Irish fan knows of the legend that was Charlie Hurley. We are proud that he played for Ireland and we extend our deepest sympathies to all who knew The King.”

Former Sunderland manager Peter Reid also posted on X: “Legend and a Gentleman RIP.”

Michael Gray, former Sunderland captain, said: “I was fortunate to meet the great man on numerous occasions and every time he spoke he inspired me to be better. You were the greatest Charlie… RIP LEGEND.”

Fr Marc Lyden-Smith, chaplain to SAFC, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Really sad to hear that #SAFC legend Charlie Hurley has died. Charlie will always be remembered as “The King”.

“A talented player and really lovely gentleman. Praying for him and his family whom he cherished. May he rest in peace.”

View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/charlie-hurley-sunderland-ireland-tribute-29058105

Scroll to Top