From 1873 to Today: A Journey Through the History of Sunderland Football Club
Keith Grigson with the book

A significant milestone in the history of one of the United Kingdom’s most ancient rugby clubs will be honoured through the release of a commemorative booklet.

Sunderland Football Club, presently recognized as Sunderland Rugby Football Club, has been in existence since the 1873/4 season and continues its operations at Ashbrooke Sports Club to this day.

And now sports and local history lovers can enjoy a look back at the remarkable history of the organisation, thanks to the support of digital print company, WTTB.

The anniversary booklet has been compiled by local historian and writer, Keith Grigson, who has also been in charge of the Ashbrooke sports archive for the past 40 years.

“We are very lucky to have an extensive amount of information and we couldn’t really let this occasion pass without using it,” said Keith.

Along with charting the history of the club, the booklet features the remarkable story of Alfred Hudson, a member of the original rugby side whose kit was found intact in the bottom of a trunk by sheer chance by one of his family members.

Still, in first-class condition, there are talks of parts of it being displayed at the World Rugby Museum at Twickenham at some point, with hopes that it will also be exhibited in Sunderland later this year.

“Given that most players at that time would have one set of kit that would have to last them their whole career, it’s amazing that it is in such incredible condition,” said Keith.

“Again, it was a story I felt needed to be told as part of the booklet.”

When he decided to produce the booklet Keith approached Louise Stephenson, Managing Director of WTTB which is based at Sunderland BIC, and whose son William is a rising star at the rugby club.

“Louise was fantastic and has produced the booklet for us so we can not only give some copies away but also sell them to help support the club,” he said.

“I am really grateful for her brilliant support.”

Louise said she had been happy to help – particularly as all three of her sons have played for the club at varying times.

“All of my family are passionate rugby players and with Aaron and Harry previous players and my youngest son, William, currently playing as part of the team I was delighted that we have been able to support this really important birthday and hopefully help raise some money for the club,” she said.

Copies will be available for £5 at the club on match days for the rest of the season. For further details contact

For further information about WTTB visit

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