Bobby Gurney (13 October 1907 – 14 April 1994)[2] was a football forward who is the highest goal scorer in the history of his only senior club as a player, Sunderland.

Bobby Gurney
Personal information
Date of birth 13 October 1907
Place of birth Silksworth, County Durham, England
Date of death 14 April 1994(1994-04-14) (aged 86)
Place of death England
Playing position Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
19??–1925 Bishop Auckland F.C. ? (?)
1925–1950 Sunderland 348[1] (205[1])
National team
1935 England 1 (0)
Teams managed
1950–1952 Peterborough United
1952–1957 Darlington
1963–1964 Hartlepools United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Early yearsEdit

Born in Stewart Street, Silksworth, Sunderland, his father Joe was a miner at Silksworth Colliery. His mother, Elizabeth, stayed at home to look after Bobby, his three brothers and one sister. Bobby took up football as a child, playing for his village team. His older brother, Ralph, also played football, as a goalkeeper. All his brothers went into pit jobs after leaving school.


Bobby was signed to Sunderland in May 1925, after being spotted by Charlie Buchan while playing for top non-league side Bishop Auckland. He made his debut nearly a year later against West Ham United on 3 April 1926, scoring once in a 3–2 defeat. He would play for the next three seasons alongside a striker who hit at least 35 league goals in each of his four full seasons at Roker Park, Dave Halliday, the most prolific goals to games striker in Sunderland's history.[3]

After Halliday's departure Gurney was regularly the club's top goalscorer, garnering his best tally of 33 goals in the 1930–31 season. Among his career highlights were ten hat-tricks and two four-goal hauls. He was also one of just a handful of Sunderland players to score five times in a match.

Bobby went on to make 388 league appearances for Sunderland, scoring 228 goals, which makes him the club's all-time top scorer. He won a First Division Championship medal in 1936. He scored in a 3–1 win over Preston North End at Wembley in the 1937 FA Cup Final.


Gurney won one international cap, representing England against Scotland at Hampden Park before 129,693 spectators.


On retiring from playing he stayed in the game and in 1950 became manager of Midland League side Peterborough United. He was subsequently manager of Darlington, and finally had a short spell as manager of Hartlepool United.


As a playerEdit


Managerial statisticsEdit

Team Nat From To Record
G W L D Win %
Peterborough United England August 1950 May 1952 0 0 0 0 0.00
Darlington England May 1952 October 1957 267 85 123 59 31.8
Hartlepools United England April 1963 January 1964 44 9 25 10 20.5


  1. ^ a b Bobby Gurney, The Stat Cat
  2. ^ Dykes, Garth & Lamming, Doug (2000). All The Lads: A Complete Who's Who of Sunderand AFC. Sunderland AFC. p. 170. ISBN 1-899538-15-1.
  3. ^ Dave Halliday profile on "Queens Legends" on the official Queen of the South FC website Archived 26 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Ted Drake
First Division top scorer
Succeeded by
Freddie Steele