Don Airey and The Black Cats


I am of course talking about Sunderland A.F.C.


“Practise the piano, tend the garden, read the broadsheets, support Sunderland AFC and go to the village pub.” (source)

Those know me will know that I am also an avid follower of a number of ‘sportsball’ things. It isn’t much extra effort to keep one eye on one more…that being said….

While Sunderland is kinda hovering in the relegation zone in the Championship (second division), (it is frankly passing on a bit of second-hand sighs, no I will not link that game with Millwall). On to er, slightly more positive things. Edit: This morning Cardiff, sigh.

“Three or four times a year, somehow it always coincides with a match, I’m a big supporter, and see what little of the family that’s still up there.” (source)


(Colosseum II, Don seen wearing the red and white (well, sepia and beige, but still the stripes…) of Sunderland
Trondheim, Norway 1976
©️Egil Troea 

Erica Echenberg/Redferns (Colosseum II at the Marquee, London)


With Rainbow:



Head coach Dick Advocaat and chairman Ellis Short meet up with 1970s rockers Deep Purple. The band’s keyboardist Don Airey is a big Black Cats fan!

(SAFC facebook)



What do you miss most about Sunderland?

The people, the sea, Notorianni’s ice cream, a decent pint and going to Roker Park.

(Roker Park being Sunderland’s old stadium before they moved to the Stadium of Light, opening with a game against Ajax in 1997.)


At a Bonnet/Airey gig you were seen wearing a Sunderland football shirt. Do you ever manage to get yourself to the Sunderland matches?

Guilty as charged! Visits to Sunderland always somehow seem to coincide with a home game, and without any prompting from me, my three children have all forsaken Man U & become avid supporters of The Lads.

We haven’t seen them win for a year or two but it’s always worth the trip just to hear the comments of our supporters.

We were at the 5-0 drubbing at Ipswich last year, and at 4-0 down my son became quite agitated and started shouting at Emerson Thome that he was going to come down there and take over from him. The bloke in front turned round and said “ Ay, gan on son, make a citizen’s substitution”. (source)


(In a Sunderland hoodie, from Roger’s site)

And another interview:
Q: Thanks for your email – I’ve been chatting with Colin Hart (ex-Deep Purple and Rainbow Tour Manager and Sunderland fan) who sends his best and I told him that you’d beat Everton to stay up.
DA: I wasn’t there at the Stadium of Light for the game against Leicester but my son went and said that Sunderland were nearly as good as Leicester and the game last year which was 0-0 when Leicester stayed up, that was one of the best games I ever saw. It’s been a great season.
Q: Of course you now know that Sunderland are tipped to win the title next season.
DA: (laughs)
Q: I think a lot of club owners and managers are now sitting there thinking about how they will spend their money in the future.
DA: Yeah. I think our best buy was the guy we got for £500, 000 from Bayern Munich – Jan Kirchhoff. At last we have someone who can get the ball from the defense to the attack. Have you heard what the Sunderland fans call him?
Q: No.
DA: Macenbauer. Isn’t that brilliant?
Q: (laughs) Classic. Got to love football fans humour. (source)

Here, he talks about two of his toneprints, one of which is named Away! Away! Away! after one of the Sunderland chants


(With owner Ellis Short and Don’s son and keyboard tech, Mike Airey. BBC Match of the Day 2015/2016 Day 2; From Mike’s channel)

And from the same place, 


FTM being short for…well, let’s leave it at Tyne and Wear derby? And being a derby, can get rather heated.(Which Wikipedia tells me dates all the way back to the English Civil War!)

Now Sunderland AFC isn’t the only football shirt he wears, for example, here he is in an Argentina kit. Now, I haven’t been able to find a reliable/complete source of Sunderland 3rd kits, as such, I’ll refrain from identifying unknown shirts as potential ‘Sunderland’ ones. 


(One last bit, extremely minor, but it’s the only connection I haves. One, signing Giaccherini on loan from Juve, two, playing a friendly in preseason (under Ranieri), and lastly, recently, Paolo Montero being linked to the manager position, this past November.)