Bobby Gurney

IntroEnglish footballer and manager
Was Sports official 
Football player 
Association football player 
Association football manager 
From United Kingdom 
Type Sports 
Birth 13 October 1907 
, Sunderland, City of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, North East England
Death 14 April 1994 
, England, United Kingdom
(aged 86 years)
Star sign Libra

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

Early years

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.

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 player

  • First Division runner-up: 1934–35
  • First Division Title winner: 1935–36
  • FA Charity Shield winner: 1936
  • FA Charity Shield runner-up: 1937
  • FA Cup winner: 1937
  • War Cup runner-up: 1942

Managerial statistics

Peterborough UnitedAugust 1950May 195200000.00
DarlingtonMay 1952October 1957267851235931.8
Hartlepools UnitedApril 1963January 1964449251020.5