Ex-professional footballer Stan Anderson published an autobiography in 2010 entitled Captain of the North (see here). Never can a book have borne a more appropriate title: for the man in question is the only individual, ever, to have captained each of the region’s ‘Big Three’ football clubs – Sunderland, Newcastle and Middlesbrough. Stan was a cultured, whole-hearted midfielder with an eye for goal; considered to be ahead of his time by many in the way he played and thought about the game.
Anderson was born on 27th February 1934* in Horden, Co.Durham. After turning out for the colliery’s team as a teenager whilst learning plastering and plumbing, he eventually signed professional forms for Sunderland in 1951 and made over 400 appearances for the red and whites – gaining two England caps in 1962 and forming part of his country’s 1962 World Cup squad.
In 1963, he moved to rivals Newcastle United, where he stayed for two years, steering them to promotion in 1965. He then signed for Middlesbrough as player-coach, then became manager during 1966-73 (amazingly, he had been rejected by the Teesside club whilst playing for Horden Colliery). Thereafter, he had spells as a manager at AEK Athens, QPR, Donaster Rovers and Bolton Wanderers, before retiring to care for his wife in 1981.
He is now into his late 70s and lives in Doncaster.
* Strangely, his exact date of birth varies between sources – 27th February 1933 and 12th December 1933 are also given. If you’re reading this, Stan, do put me straight!