Story of abuse and assault after Sunderland’s loss to Norwich at Wembley to raise funds for charity

David Corner, far right, watches on as Norwich City celebrate Asa Hartford's deflected goal in the M

David Corner, far right, watches on as Norwich City celebrate Asa Hartford's deflected goal in the Milk Cup final at Wembley in 1985 Picture: Archant library - Credit: Archant

The League Cup final of 1985 created great memories for Norwich City but for one of the losing Sunderland team, it began a miserable spell of bullying and violence - which has been turned into a stage show.

David Corner was the 18-year-old central defender who was robbed by John Deehan ahead of Asa Hartford scoring the crucial goal just after half-time, thanks to a big deflection off Black Cats defender Gordon Chisholm.

Clive Walker also missed a penalty for Sunderland but it was Corner who took the brunt of the blame from supporters after the 1-0 defeat at Wembley, of a club with a proud history as six-time English champions and two-time FA Cup winners.

Now his story is being released as an audiobook to mark National Anti-Bullying Week, after the play was successfully toured around the north-east, with proceeds going to the Foundation of Light, to benefit disadvantaged children and families.

“I kicked one off the line. I’ve watched the video a load of times and I did OK,” Corner recalls, speaking to the Observer newspaper.

Norwich City celebrating after winning the Milk Cup final with a 1-0 win over Sunderland in March 19

Norwich City celebrating after winning the Milk Cup final with a 1-0 win over Sunderland in March 1985 Picture: Archant library - Credit: Archant


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“My team-mates were fantastic. Shaun Elliott put his arm around me and told me to forget about it, said it wasn’t my fault. Barry Venison was superb with me, said it could have happened to anybody.”

It was when the Black Cats returned to Roker Park, where a few hundred fans were waiting to welcome their beaten team - who, like City, would go on to be relegated from the top flight.

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Corner continued: “He was a biggish fella, and he grabbed the tracksuit I was wearing and pulled me towards him over the railing. ‘You, yer bastard’, he said. ‘You’re the reason we lost the cup’.”

A couple of years later he was assaulted in a Sunderland nightclub, leaving him hospitalised for 12 days with a fractured eye socket and broken cheekbone, while a separate occasion saw him punched and left with broken teeth and stitches.

The local lad left Sunderland in 1988 after loans at Cardiff and Peterborough, playing for clubs including Leyton Orient and Darlington before having to retire in the mid-90s due to injury, going on to become a police officer.

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