Top Ten: Played For Both Sunderland And Liverpool

Jordan Henderson - Is he the best of what is a pretty mixed bunch?


Thankfully, all that international rubbish is over and we can slowly begin building up towards a Sunderland match at the weekend - a home game at long last!

So, the first of that is a Top Ten, looking at those who have represented both the Lads, and the Scousers. It must be said that the balance of this is pretty-one sided; Sunderland seems to get significantly short-changed when it comes to players that join us after playing for Liverpool, you'll see what I mean when you carry on reading. Good lads and lasses!

10. Phil Babb

Remember the time that Sunderland announced a press conference for a ‘mystery international player'? Well, Phil Babb has to have been the most unimaginative fit of that description in history.

Babb, joining on a free transfer from Sporting Lisbon, arrived just in time for the 19-point season (further condemning both the defender and Chairman Bob Murray with Sunderland fans) and confirmed the fears of many; that his ability was somewhat disguised whilst at Liverpool by playing alongside superior players. This was to be proven at the most critical of times, as a mix-up between Babb and George McCartney created the chance that saw Millwall progress to the 2004 FA Cup final at Sunderland's expense.

9. David Hodgson

We really are being spoiled here, aren't we?

The Gateshead-born striker struggled at both clubs, amassing just nine goals over four years. Despite that, he received a league, League Cup and European Cup winner's medal during his time at Anfield.

8. Howard Gayle

Gayle come through the Liverpool youth setup, making four first-team appearances before joining Birmingham City. After a decent season in the Midlands, the forward made the move to Sunderland, where he managed just four goals as the club were relegated to the Second Division.

7. Boudewijn Zenden

Having represented such illustrious clubs as Barcelona and PSV, ‘Bolo' then made the move to England - initially with Chelsea.

He added to his La Liga and Eredivisie titles by bringing a first piece of silverware to Middlesbrough in the form of the League Cup, before reaching the Champions League final with Liverpool. Having joined Sunderland as a free agent after leaving Marseille, Zenden would become the experience needed in a relatively young midfield.

Despite only playing for two seasons, he left fans with some excellent memories - including his volley at home to Tottenham Hotspur and his ‘dancing' alongside Asamoah Gyan in the 3-0 win over Chelsea.

6. Jordan Henderson

Sunderland's first £10m-plus home-grown talent, Henderson burst onto the scene in Steve Bruce's first season in charge. A tall, athletic player with an assured first touch, he emerged as a key player as Sunderland saw off a winless three-month period to finish in midtable.

In his second season, Henderson would go onto represent England at senior level, and receive plaudits from a number of managers from top Premier League clubs - with Liverpool becoming the team that believed the hype enough to purchase the young midfielder.

Despite the high price tag and increased scrutiny, there have been moments -both on Wearside and at Anfield - conveying Henderson's considerable ability.

5. Djibril Cisse

A £10m signing from Auxerre, Cisse's pace and wacky haircuts illuminated the Premier League. Despite suffering a horrendous double-leg break, Cisse would return action for the Reds and make telling contributions in two of Liverpool's most memorable recent moments - scoring a penalty in the Champions League final against AC Milan and opening the scoring in the 2006 FA Cup final against West Ham.

After leaving Liverpool in 2006, Cisse would return to the Premier League two years later; joining Sunderland on a season-long loan from Marseille. He started off brilliantly - scoring the winning goal against Tottenham Hotspur on his debut and the opener in both games against Newcastle that season. However, a turbulent season on Wearside saw Cisse's productivity wane, with the striker claiming that ‘promises were not kept' as the club decided against converting the loan into a permanent transfer.

4. Don Hutchison

Another North-East native, Don Hutchison moved to Liverpool from Hartlepool in 1990 - making 45 appearances and scoring 7 goals under Kenny Dalglish, and then Graeme Souness.

Having signed from Everton in 2000, Hutchison provided 8 goals from midfield as Sunderland repeated its 7th place finish, before departing for West Ham a year later for £5m.

Failure to replace Hutchison started the ball rolling for Sunderland's decline. By the time a replacement was needed for Niall Quinn a year later, the momentum had proven impossible to arrest, further accelerated by the appointment of Howard Wilkinson with the net result a meagre 19 points.

3. Barry Venison

Another to start out at Sunderland and then leave for Merseyside, Venison, who made his senior debut at just 17, would go onto make 173 appearances for the Black Cats before joining Liverpool for £200,000.

At 20, Venison captained Sunderland in the 1985 League Cup final but was unable to lead his side to victory at Wembley. Having been relegated the same year, Sunderland was unable to achieve promotion at the first attempt, which led to Venison requesting a transfer.

The defender would also suffer League Cup final heartbreak with his new club, but rectified that with an FA Cup winner's medal (1989) and two league titles (1987-88, 1989-90).

2. Len Ashurst

Having joined Sunderland from Liverpool's youth team, he's in. Tough.

Ashurst is one of only two outfield players to have represented Sunderland on more than 400 occasions. He also had a spell as manager - leading Sunderland to its first ever League Cup final, but in the process unable to prevent relegation from the First Division.

1. Alan Kennedy

A double European Cup winner and four-time league and League Cup winner, Kennedy was a mainstay during one of Liverpool's most successful eras. The Sunderland native made a habit of producing when it mattered most - scoring in the 1981 European Cup final against Real Madrid, and in the League Cup final against Manchester United in 1983.

Two seasons later, however, Kennedy was sold to his hometown club. He made 54 league appearances for Sunderland but the contrast between his past and current was highlighted at the end of his second season on Wearside - as Sunderland failed to beat Gillingham over two legs and was relegated to the third tier of English football.

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