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Sunderland honoured an Irish legend at the Stadium of Light today

It was Charlie Hurley Day.

Updated at 18.16

BEFORE AND DURING their Premier League fixture with Hull City today, Sunderland paid tribute to ‘The King’ Charlie Hurley.

On the club legend’s 80th birthday, Sunderland designated the fixture as ‘Charlie Hurley Day’.

Hurley unveiled gates honouring him at the Stadium of Light before the game, which have been re-sited from the club’s former training ground at Whitburn that was named after the defender.

Tweet by @Sunderland AFC Source: Sunderland AFC/Twitter

Members of the 1963/64 promotion-winning side, which he captained, then joined Hurley on the pitch before kick-off as they were recieved by fans.

Voted Player of the Century in the club’s centenary year of 1979, Hurley is a player who Sunderland fans continue to revere.

Sunderland v Hull City - Premier League - Stadium of Light Source: Owen Humphreys

Sunderland v Hull City - Premier League - Stadium of Light Source: Owen Humphreys

The former Ireland centre-half made 400 starts and one substitute appearance for The Black Cats between 1957 and 1969, scoring 26 goals.

Hurley is renowned as the first centre-half to go up the field for corners, a tactic that is used by almost every centre back in the world now, but one that Hurley pioneered.

Born in Cork, his family moved to Essex when Hurley was just seven months old. He began his career at Milwall in 1953, before moving to Sunderland.

Hurley made his Irish debut against England in May 1957, and went on to represent his country on 40 occasions.

Soccer - Football League Division One - Chelsea v Sunderland Hurley leading his Sunderland side. Source: S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport

He finished his playing career at Bolton, before spending five years at Elm Park as manager of Reading.

“I think it’s very fitting that they should honour Charlie in this way. He was an icon in his day and he’s always been well thought of,” former Sunderland player and manager Len Ashurst told the club ahead of the occasion.

“He gave back a lot to the community, and I think it’s appropriate that they should acknowledge his 80th birthday.”

Tweet by @Sunderland AFC Source: Sunderland AFC/Twitter

A previous version of this article stated that Sunderland were playing Wolves. They hosted Hull City. The article was again updated to include photos from throughout the day.

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