Goal.com's Top 50 English Players: Raich Carter (27)

Goal.com are counting down England's greatest players of all time and number 27 is pint-sized Sunderland legend Raich Carter.
No.50 - John Terry
No.49 - Tony Currie
No.48 - Terry Butcher
No.47 - Gerry Hitchens
No.46 - Paul Ince
No.45 - George Camsell
No.44 - Wayne Rooney
No.43 - Jackie Milburn
No.42 - Roger Hunt
No.41 - Rio Ferdinand
No.40 - Wilf Mannion

No.39 - Frank Lampard
No.38 - John Barnes
No.37 - Nat Lofthouse
No.36 - Eddie Hapgood
No.35 - Chris Waddle
No.34 - David Platt
No.33 - Phil Neal
No.32 - Johnny Haynes
No.31 - Peter Beardsley
No.30 - Ray Clemence
No.29 - Ted Drake
No.28 - Michael Owen

England13 caps, 7 goals
ClubsSunderland Schools, Whitburn St Mary's, Esh Winning, Sunderland Forge, Sunderland, Derby County, Hull City, Cork Athletic

Regardless of generation, there are not many living souls within any shore who would have had the good fortune of witnessing Raich Carter with a ball at his feet, yet his legacy lives on.

The young Raich would have received a footballing education from the earliest of ages as the sport was embedded into him from his father, Robert Carter, who strode out in the colours of Port Vale, Southampton, and Fulham as a professional, but a serious head injury cut his career short at 29.

It seemed a common motif for pre-war sportsmen to excel at more than one game and, in keeping with this tradition Carter - like William Lindsey, Willie Watson, and the Compton brothers - was also a fine cricketer.

As a 13-year-old schoolboy it was clear that football was in Carter's legacy, as local rag the Sunderland Echo, reported upon witnessing him take apart Wales in an international youth game where he scored a deuce, "This young Hendon product is one of the best all-round athletes Sunderland has produced for many a day, and his future career will be watched with interest."

"Thats the problem with kids these days, they have no appreciation or understanding of history. The legendary players from past generations helped shape football into the game it is today and without them there would be no Ferdinands or JT's." - william connolly | scotland

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Carter's ability became quickly apparent as soon as he began to play regularly for Sunderland at the age of 18, and his inclusion - like the dramas that unfold today as to how talents like Arsenal's Jack Wilshere are best educated - polarised opinion. Some quarters felt that due to his natural ability in front of goal, his calmness and compsure, together with his ability to pick and thread a pass, meant that he should be starting games on the regular, while others felt he should be carefully nurtured.

The diminutive Carter, who measured 5'7'' and weighed in at little over 9 stone, grew in stature with every season, and wore the captain's armband when he turned 23. Due to Arsenal's dominance throughout the 1930's it was hard for other team's to exert themselves, but Sunderland pipped the north Londoners most of the way, and Carter aided their progression, with the Black Cats even winning the last of their league titles in 1936. They then followed that triumph up with an FA Cup victory the next year.

What's more, he went on to win the Cup once more with Derby County in 1946, becoming the only player to hoist the famous trophy aloft both before and after World War 2.

Fondly remembered by all for his playing career, Carter went on to run a sweet shop in Hull. In tribute, English great Stanley Matthews, on looking back at Carter's talent, said, "Carter was a supreme entertainer who dodged, dribbled, twisted and turned, sending bewildered left-halves madly along false trails.

"Inside the penalty box with the ball at his feet and two or three defenders snapping at his ankles, he'd find the space to get a shot in at goal... Bewilderingly clever, constructive, lethal in front of goal, yet unselfish. Time and again he'd play the ball out wide to me and with such service I was in my element."


League Title (1936)
FA Cup (1937)
FA Cup (1946)

DID YOU KNOW ... that Raich Carter has both a sports centre, and a road, named after him in Sunderland?

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