Story of Sunderland Milk Cup misfortune player David Corner to tour theatres with sister play Wise Men Say

From left to right, BBC Look North presenter Jeff Brown, ex-Sunderland AFC player David Corner and actor Paul Dunn.
From left to right, BBC Look North presenter Jeff Brown, ex-Sunderland AFC player David Corner and actor Paul Dunn.

The poignant story of former Sunderland AFC player David Corner is set to hit theatres as part of a couplet of plays on the club.

David is still reviled in some quarters for his mistake in the 1985 Milk Cup final against Norwich City at Wembley.

David Corner, second from the left in the back row, with his Sunderland team-mates in 1987.

David Corner, second from the left in the back row, with his Sunderland team-mates in 1987.

Then 18, his error led to a Norwich goal which ultimately won them the cup and denied the Black Cats a first major trophy since 1973.

BBC Look North presenter Jeff Brown has written the play, called Cornered, which not only tells the story of that day, but also what has happened to David since.

Jeff said: “He made one mistake, and it has haunted him ever since.

“Barely a day goes by without someone reminding him of it.

The play is an attempt to put David’s side of the story

Jeff Brown

“The play is an attempt to put David’s side of the story.

“Despite everything he’s been through down the years – and he’s had physical as well as verbal abuse – he’s a really affable, easy-going guy, who is a real delight to work with.

“Fans might say they pay their money so that gives them the right to say what they think about players, but – in my opinion - what David has been through is beyond what’s acceptable.

“Football is a huge part of life in this part of the world, but the play is also an attempt to suggest there are worse things than giving away a goal...even if it is in a cup final!”

BBC Look North presenter Jeff Brown wrote Cornered.

BBC Look North presenter Jeff Brown wrote Cornered.

As well as Cornered, the play Wise Men Say will also come to theatres later this year.

Written by actor Paul Dunn, who also appears in it, the play celebrates the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Stadium of Light, and looks at the highs and lows of supporting the club.

Both plays are being brought to theatres by Sunderland-based theatre company Cranked Anvil, which also produced the play I Left My Heart In Roker Park.

That went on to win Revival of the Year in the British Theatre Guide and was shortlisted in the Journal Culture Awards, while Paul won Performance of the Year.

He said: “Doing I Left My Heart In Roker Park three years ago was an amazing experience.

“It was so popular we ended up having to double the amount of shows we performed, and were even asked back to the Customs House the following month to do another by popular demand!

“The audiences were phenomenal, and the Sunderland fans who came – many of which had never been to the theatre before – were some of the best I’ve ever had in any show.

“I can’t wait to do this new show, which will be a completely new piece but will also have a few nods to the Roker Park play we did, so anybody who came to see that can keep a look out for them!”

The double-bill of plays are on in venues around the North East in September.

They will be on at The Customs House, in South Shields, between September 6 and 8, Durham Gala on September 9, Washington Arts Centre on September 14 and the Peacock, in Sunderland – formerly known as The Londonderry – on September 22.

Ticket prices range from £7 to £16, and can be bought from www.crankedanvil.co.uk.