THE CAREER of former Sunderland player and manager Len Ashurst will be recognised prior to tomorrow’s clash against Arsenal.
Ashurst has been formally inducted into the League Managers’ Association Hall of Fame’s 1000 club, as one of just 23 managers to have reached the landmark of 1,000 competitive games.
During a 22 year career in the dug-out, Ashurst took charge of 1,089 games with nine different clubs, including a 15-month spell at Roker Park.
To mark the occasion, Ashurst - who still holds the Sunderland club appearance record as an outfield player - will be presented with a specially commissioned crystal trophy by Black Cats boss Gus Poyet and counterpart Arsene Wenger prior to this weekend’s encounter.
Poyet said: “Len Ashurst has legendary status here at Sunderland.
“He is an integral part of our club history, both as a player and a manager and I will be honoured to be part of this wonderful tribute to Len.
“On behalf of everyone at Sunderland, I wholeheartedly congratulate Len on his induction into the LMA Hall of Fame 1000 Club and I am delighted that he has taken his place amongst such an esteemed group of gentlemen.”
Wenger added: “It will be a privilege to present Len with this memento, which formally recognises him reaching and exceeding the milestone of 1,000 professional football matches as a manager.
“Speaking from personal experience, I know of the level of dedication and preparation required for just one match, so when that is multiplied 1,000 times you know the level of sacrifice required.
“I have huge admiration and respect for this achievement, and pass on my personal congratulations to Len.”