Sunderland football legend Charlie Hurley dies aged 87

Sunderland legend Charlie Hurley has died aged 87.

Iconic Sunderland and Republic of Ireland defender Charlie Hurley has died at the age of 87.

A Black Cats legend, Hurley made 402 league appearances for the then-Rokermen, scoring 23 goals along the way (despite scoring an own goal on his debut). Beloved by the Sunderland massive, he was voted as their player of the century in a fan poll.

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As well as playing for Sunderland, Hurley also made over 100 appearances for Millwall, scoring two goals. Additionally, he also played for Bolton Wanderers towards the end of his career.

At international level, Hurley won 40 caps for the Republic of Ireland, notching up two goals to his name. As a manager, he only took the reins at a single club - Reading, who he coached over the course of five years. He left the Royals in 1977, sensationally resigning from his position at half time during a game - becoming the first-ever manager in English football to do so.

On Hurley’s passing, Sunderland issued a statement on their official club website: “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. Charlie adored Sunderland and Sunderland will always adore him. Our heartfelt sympathies are with his family, and all who loved him.” The FAI issued a statement on X (formerly Twitter) which reads: “The FAI is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Cork-born legend Charlie Hurley. Capped 40 times by his country, Charlie will always be remembered as "The King". We are proud he played for Ireland and offer our sympathies to his family and friends.”

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