When I first started the Cult Heroes section for the Roker Report way back when my first selection was the popular Polish right back Dariusz Kubicki. A fine choice I'm sure you'll agree. Kubicki was my favourite player as a young ten year old in the Roker End. All good things come to an end however and Dariusz made his move to Wolverhampton Wanderers. I remember, as the young whipper-snapper I was, being highly disappointed that my hero had left the club, a feeling I quickly became accustomed to.
Who could possibly replace the sublime Kubicki I thought to myself, this was sure to be a disaster! My doubts were soon to be answered in dramatic fashion as a Manchester born full back was to cross the channel and step up to the challenge.
A star in the official SAFC Solid Gold XI, Ladies and Gentlemen... its Chris Gregory Makin!
Makin's footballing career began at Oldham Atheltic, a club he joined from school, but he made his league debut as a loanee with Wigan Athletic during the 1992/93 season. Chris made an instant impact with the Lactics and also managed two goals. In fact Makin impressed so much during his fifteen game spell in egg-chasing territory that they were eager to permanently secure the right back's services.
Oldham refused to even entertain the interest and Makin went on to star for the side in the 1993/94 Premiership season, making his Oldham debut at Boundary Park against the London outfit Arsenal. Chris also helped Oldham to the FA Cup semi final that year.
Chris' stay with Oldham lasted five years, ninety-five appearances and four goals. In the summer of 1996 the right back found himself out of contract and made a move which would refine his career. Ligue One was his destination and Marseille, undoubtedly one of the biggest European clubs, was his new home. The move helped to define Chris as a footballer. He learned to cope with the expectation of playing for a side who's fans demanded success and victory week in week out.
Despite loving his new life in French football, Chris' stay with Marseille was to last just one season, when Sunderland made an offer of £500,000, which was too much for the French giants to turn down. That was that, Chris was back across the Channel, the tunnel, a ferry, he may even have flown over, but either way the fullback found himself in one of the UK's biggest hotbeds of football, the North-East.
It didn't take Chris long to convince this young fan that he was no pretender to Kubicki's throne but was in fact the real deal. Makin was a pacey right back with fantastic distribution and a fierce tackle which helped to cement his popularity with the Black Cat faithful. Makin undoubtedly had the best years of his career whilst on Wearside and was part of Peter Reid's most successful era with the club.
As famous as Chris was for his tackling there was another element, or possibly lack of, to his game which he was more well known for during his time on Wearside. As Makin would pick the ball up and carry it into the opposition's half the cries of "Shoot" from the stands would get louder with each stride he took. Tinged with more than a hint of irony the crowds reaction just served to show their admiration and appreciation for the defender.
However, on Sunday 14th May 2000, the planets aligned and the unthinkable happened at White Hart Lane. With twenty minutes to play in the first half and the North East side trailing to a Darren "sicknote" Anderton penalty, Makin began his surge towards goal. After combining well with Kevin Phillips, Makin saw his chance. With a strike that Phillips himself would have been proud of, Makin steered the ball past Walker and the travelling fans went crazy.
It would appear that with that goal Chris managed to break the space time continuum as no video evidence has survived the decade that has since passed. Maybe it was all just a dream, but either way, Chris Makin, for your services to tackling and hitting row z with your ambitious long range efforts, I salute you.