Brian Johnson rode for Sunderland in 1974. The likeable Teessider made his debut in an away
meeting at Coatbridge, on the 12th of June and what a baptism of fire it turned out to be, as
the Gladiators (as they were known by then) were put to the sword by the Coatbridge Tigers,
going down 16-61. Brian failed to get on the score sheet in that meeting, but picked himself
up to play a big part in Sunderlands recovery from a disastrous start to the season. Brian
rode in 20 meetings for the Gladiators, for a creditable average of 4.00.
The highlight for Brian was when he top scored against Crewe âKingsâ with 8pts, including
two wins against the more than useful Ian Cartwright. This meeting marked the return of
Crazy Jack to the Boldon Stadium, the Crewe captain scoring a 12 pt maximum, to remind
us of what we were missing.