Chatting To A Cult Hero - Our Interview With Marcus Stewart

Why's Mick there? Read on to find out...

Hello dear reader, we've only gone and pouched yet another top notch interview for your viewing pleasure.

Having talked to the guy that designs our kits, a whole host of the North East's finest journalists and ex-players galore, I think it is safe to say that this is the first time that we've had the pleasure of talking to someone who was the second top goalscorer in the Premiership. Admittedly, not while playing for us, but that's just little details.

Despite living in France, and having my roots in Barnsley, I actually grew up in Huddersfield, where this man is an utter legend. But rather than provide you with a history of the man, I'll point you in the direction of David Boyle's excellent Cult Heroes piece on him, and I would certainly recommend having a watch of the video while you're there, he really was a class act.

So, without further ado, may I present to you, Roker Report meets Marcus Stewart.

Hi Marcus, who was your footballing hero when you were young?

Marcus: "Gary Lineker."

One game fans will remember fondly was your goal against Wigan at the JJB to all but secure promotion in front of nearly 8,000 travelling fans? What do you remember of that day?

Marcus: " I can remember our fans filling an entire side of the stadium and making a lot of noise, and the great pass for my goal from Liam Lawrence."

Back to you actually joining SAFC, what impression did you have of Sunderland before you joined? Did it change at all, and if so, how?

Marcus: "I had the impression that Sunderland fans were very noisy, (and I was proved right), it didn't change as such, but I quickly found out that the noise they make can also work against you at home games, if things weren't quite going our way."

A lot of people see the North East as being 'unfashionable'. How were you persuaded to come here?

Marcus: "Sunderland were still in the Premier League at the time, and I was in the Championship with Ipswich, so to get the chance to come and play for a big club, that still played in the Premier League, was the persuasive factor for me."

We were relegated not long after you arrived, unfortunately. What made you want to stay when there were no doubt offers from elsewhere?

Marcus: "The manager, no doubt. I loved the way that Mick worked in those final few months, he was honest, strong and very commited to me and the way that I played my football. I had a couple of offers to go elsewhere, but I was never going to take them with Mick at the helm for Sunderland."

You played alongside several strike partners at Sunderland, who was your favourite to play with?

Marcus: "All of the strikers were very good, and had their own way of playing; it was a challenge having to adjust my game for the different types of striker that I was playing alongside."

You arrived at Sunderland for pretty big money. Does a price tag ever hang over a player?

Marcus: "No, never, ever bothered me, I just played my football. The clubs or managers are the ones who should be judged on the price tags of players, because they are the ones who are spending the fans' hard-earned money."

Who was the toughest defender you ever came up against?

Marcus: "Rio Ferdinand. He was tough, quick and classy on the ball."

Do you still follow Sunderland at all?

Marcus: "All the time, I follow all of my old teams."

You had a penchant for gloves at Ipswich, did Sunderland not have a decent pair?

Marcus: "Ha, I used to get cold fingers, even in the summer!"

What is your proudest moment in football?

Marcus: "To make my professional debut at the age of 18 for Bristol Rovers was a very proud day for me."

Who do you rate as the best manager that you took to the field for?

Marcus: "Mick McCarthy, and our current manager at Exeter (Paul Tisdale), he has real potential."

Now that you're retired, what the plan for Marcus Stewart?

Marcus: "I am currently enjoying my third year as a coach for the Exeter City first team."

And, to put you on the spot for the final question, who would be in an all-time XI of people you played alongside?

Marcus: "Richard Wright, George McCartney, Jim Magilton, Claudio Reyna, James Scowcroft, Barry Horne, Tony Mowbray, Mark Venus, John McGreal, David Phillips and Kevin Phillips."

And that, as they say, is that. I'd like to personally thank Marcus for taking the time out to talk to us, he was a great servant to the club, and all of us at Roker Report wish him the best in whatever comes next in his football career. Whether that means more coaching, or a foray into management, we, and I imagine every Sunderland fan out there, would like to see him succeed.

Any memories of Mr Stewart that you'd like to share? You know where the comments box is...

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