At the end of what had been a very successful but very arduous 1912/13 season for Sunderland AFC the Club organised an end of season tour into mainland Europe. In order to record the experience Sunderland AFC’s Captain Charlie Thomson maintained a diary. Here is an extract from that diary which gives a fascinating insight into the team and officials encounters.
“During our first game of the tour we had 4 penalties refused but the referee allowed play to go on. I went to the referee and asked the reason. He replied “I would not want a great team like Sunderland to score their first goal from a penalty”. The referees controlled the game from the touchline.
During the second game in Budapest we asked the referee to come to the centre of the field but he refused as he said he would get his boots dirty.
For the game v Blackburn Rovers we had a crowd of 16,000 and Mr. Streets of Manchester was the referee who was now coaching in Austria. The Sunderland second goal was scored by Charlie Buchan. It was the best of the tour. George Holley crossed the ball and Buchan met it on the drop, 30 yards out and it went into the net like a rocket. The crowd went mad, but everywhere we scored the crowd loved it. The victory of 3 goals to 2 carried with it a handsome grand statuette bronze figure and costing £25; also a medal for each player worth £2.
The team was lavishly entertained by the Torna club with the Mayor of Budapest being the main guest. Leaving Vienna for Berlin we travelled on the train with Princess Victoria for her marriage to Prince Ernst. On arriving each member received a button hole of red and white carnations and the Broughams (carriages) was decorated with Union Jacks.
We learnt that charging a player in Germany was not allowed when we started our tour of Germany with a game against Berlin XI but they could kick you up in the air. Ordered off was Richardson our centre forward. When leaving the field he remarked “I am glad to be sent off”. Charlie Buchan left the field as he said it was safer in the dressing room.
Harry Low was twice tripped coming off the field after the whistle, people using walking sticks and kicking out at the players and he had to let out at one bloke with a Jack Johnson punch and he was sure he would not forget Sunderland’s visit to Germany. Our reception was very cool and for my point of view the games was a failure in Germany, and anyone going there to play should be fitted out with a suit of armour.
There was one bright moment during the trip. It was when the sole of Harry Low’s boot came off during a game and asking the home trainer if they had a “last” in the dressing room he said that no one used them. Anyway it left Billy Williams our trainer to repair it with 2 stones.
The cost of the tour was between £600 to £700 to be covered by a guarantee”.
The games played on the tour were as folllows