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The Top Ten: Sunderland's Worst Strikers

We might be misfiring, but things have been a lot, lot worse.
We might be misfiring, but things have been a lot, lot worse.

Is this a 'Top' Ten or a 'Bottom' Ten... I could be either I suppose, but the point being is that at the moment we simply can't score for toffee. That's putting it mildly anyway.

Whichever way you look at things though, I sit and think "it's been a lot worse than this"... no really it has, and that's why right now we'll present to you who we think are the worst strikers to don the famous red and white.

Having read this, I know I, and many others might think twice before dismissing the likes of Nicklas Bendtner and company. Well, I might anyway, I'm a fan, I'm as fickle as anyone else. Anyway, on with the list...

10. Tore Andre Flo

A one I got wrong at the time as I distinctly remember thinking we'd made a great signing, even if the fee was rather large. Flo was exactly what we'd been missing, a new Niall Quinn had come, and along side fellow signing Marcus Stewart, big things could happen. That all seems like a distant dream now, as as things turned out, Flo was pants.

After scoring on his debut, it was all down hill. Flo didn't manage the full ninety minutes in nearly half of his appearances for the club and his fitness was called into doubt by Sgt Wilko, whilst his successor Mick McCarthy also didn't seem too keen.

Eventually Flo came to the end of his contract with a stellar record of four league goals in twenty-nine games, and the man who cost us an apparent £8m was released on a free transfer. Awful stuff.

9. Thomas Hauser

Germans are, by stereotype, supposed to be quick, strong and efficient. Thomas Hauser managed to defy all these things and just generally be completely crap. He did manage to somehow get himself to 11 goals in his 65 appearances for the club, despite slowly jogging around like a depressed snail, and the fact he seemed to be a repellent to football's.

Later following an injury sustained in a League Cup game, Hauser tried to sue us for mistreating his injury. In fairness, whatever Steve Smelt did or didn't do, it was probably for greater good of the game.

8. Kevin Kyle

This one might seem slightly harsh, but I'm going to be honest, I just never liked him. I'm sure he was a nice lad and all that, but the former baggage handler also played like one as he charged around the field clattering to people and occasionally the ball like a proto-Andy Carroll.

A return of 21 goals in 91 games, including one and only Premier League goal, was enough however to convince Coventry City to pay us actual money for his services. £600,000 to be exact. I still find that pretty incredible. A rubbish player.

7. Roly Gregoire

Roly Gregoire, for the unfamiliar was a young lad who managed to get himself signed by playing well against us once. For similar feats see Greg Halford, and look how that turned out. Having hit a hat-trick for Halifax Reserves against our own second string, Jimmy Adamson decided he'd seen enough and parted with £6,000 for his services. The man plucked from Halifax's Ressies played exactly like a player of that level before 'leaving' the club by having his contract cancelled, or by long-term injury. It depends whether you're hearing from a fan or the Gregoire family. Nine games, one goal and a load of rubbish.

6. Lilian Laslandes

Again, another striker signed to be 'The New Niall Quinn' which never materialised. In fact, it never even came close to materialising. Signed for a 'bargain' £3m having had a pretty decent record for Bordeaux, we all thought this was the one. Thirteen games was enough for Peter Reid to decide that enough was enough, and shipped him off to Koln, where he was also rubbish. Finally under Mick McCarthy he shipped off and once again we got absolutely zilch for him. Although in fairness, that was still probably above his street value. He only went on to score a further 32 goals in his entire career. Gone, and until now, largely forgotten. I'm sorry.

5. Rade Prica

Prica gained and lost out in the Roy Keane signing roulette. Signed seemingly at random when strikers were needed, he also lost out when his face no longer fit. He did manage to score a quite important goal against Birmingham City on his league debut, but spent the remainder of his career on Wearside either on the bench, in the reserves or aimlessly bumbling around the pitch like a lost soul.

It could be argued that with only six games he wasn't given a fair chance, but most who endured those six games will tell you it was around five too many. Eventually he was carted off to Rosenberg BK, where he's actually banging them in for fun. Seems he found his level.

4. Milton Nunez

Seriously, there's been worse than Nunez in our book. Anyone that ever caught a glimpse of Nunez won't forget him. For someone who made so few appearances for the club (one) he seems to have created so many memories. The first being his half-time "lap of honour" to introduce him, in which he waved and gave the thumbs up to a near 40,000 bemused fans.

Then of course there was an appearance for the reserves against Manchester United at the Stadium Of Light. I can't remember anything about other than an annoying Scotsman (not Sir Alex, I don't think) behind me bemoaning every touch United midfielder Mark Wilson had, and of course a leap by Nunez. The man who must have been all of five foot seemed to manage to jump (unsuccesfully) for the ball, almost doubling his height to that of a normal person. If you were there, it was spectacular.

There was also of course his debut. What I remember as a fifteen or so minute cameo, he kind of ran around with some enthusiasm, and nearly got a debut goal. I recall from my view in the West Stand Lower, the ball coming towards him, his face lighting up as he prepared to not only touch it, but have a shot on goal... steaming in comes Kevin Kilbane to smash it into the net. We never saw Nunez again.

There's also the story of how even came to Sunderland, but we all know that. Last spotted in the Guatemalan League, hopefully enjoying himself. I dunno.

3. Paul Stewart

Stewart did have a reasonable career prior to joining Sunderland, and there was a moment in time, around 1992 or so, where he'd have been a decent signing. Sadly for us, he arrived in 1996; fat, grey-haired, stubbled and hopeless. On the field he was pretty pathetic. The team at the time was nothing special, but to make yourself look particularly rubbish at that time is going some.

One instance I 'fondly' recall of Stewart is away at Leeds United. 3-0 down if memory serves, Stewart decided to shoot from the restart. It bounced about 4 times before landing at the feet of a bemused Mark Beeney.

He was abject to be honest, but somehow, we've managed to find a few who are worse...

2. Andy Gray

Nope, not that Andy Gray who doubles as Sid The Sexist, another one who was just as much of a useless pleb. After a £1.1m layout for the the Yorkshire hit-man who'd journeyed around the likes of Bradford City, Preston North End and Nottingham Forest with varying degrees of success, I don't think any of us were asking for too much of him, although we did expect more than a return of one goal in twenty-one games.

On the field he just seemed to be there. Incredibly slow, and one of the worst players in one of English football's all time worst sides. Strangely Burnley were kind enough to give us £750,000 for him, and off he went in 2006. There's really only one man who could be worse though...

1. Jon Stead

You didn't think he was going to miss out did you? Well he missed fairly often so it wouldn't have been a surprise, but Jon Stead walks off with the dubious honour of our worst striker.

Most fans were skeptical when he signed in the first place. He was pretty good as a youngster at Huddersfield Town, but failed to really make much impact at Blackburn Rovers. Perhaps that was just a blip, he'll be alright if he can recapture his form of old. Sadly that purple patch at Hudds seemed to have been the pinnacle of his career.

He was weak, physically and mentally it would seem, and after 11 (ELEVEN) months without a goal, you thought there's every chance that he literally couldn't hit a cows behind with a banjo. Away to Everton however, he actually found the net, sparking a memorial t-shirt printed by some local scamps which read quite simply "I Saw Jon Stead Score"... There was a chance if you were away at Southend United that you could have bought that t-shirt too as he netted his only other Sunderland goal.

Two goals, two hundred (it seemed) misses, and 35 games later, Sheffield United finally took him off our hands, where he managed to have slightly more impact. He looked a bit like one of G4, and they were sh*te in'all.


I know there's some we've missed, but it's a Top Ten, we can only have ten and we feel these are the worst of the worst. God knows we've had some bad ones, but next time just remember, it could be Gray & Stead leading the line instead of Sessegnon and Wickham. Something to keep in mind.

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