The moment has finally arrived. The floor here at Roker Report Towers is covered in discarded note-paper filled with names, formations, preferences, and all sorts inappropriate yet strangely compelling doodles. The Roker Report draft extravaganza starts here!
To catch up with what this is all about and the rules, you can CLICK HERE.
Each day we will reveal three rounds worth of picks (18 players), starting today with the coveted opening rounds.
#1 Brian Clough (Karl Jones)
First Pick? Of every SAFC player ever? No pressure then. Well, given that the misses in the Villa game the other week still gives me nightmares, I'm going to build my team around a goal scorer. THE goalscorer. The 1st pick from the inaugral Roker Report Draft is Mr Brian Howard Clough.
#2 Kevin Phillips (Simon Walsh)
I was thinking that I'd take Brian Clough, hoping he'd somehow go under the radar a little bit. That said, goals win games, and with our greatest post-war goalscorer off the board, why not take the second best one. SuperKev is the ideal person for me to build a front line around, as strikers as good as him are few and far between.
#3 Charlie Hurley (Michael Graham)
I thought I'd take a step back and let everyone else fight over the forwards early-doors. For me, the strongest sides are built from the back, and no one in Sunderland's history denotes strength greater than Charlie Hurley. My captain, my leader, the rock upon which all else will be built.
#4 Niall Quinn (David Boyle)
A man who has arguably become one of the most important figures at the club in recent years and wasn't a bad player to boot either! As a then record signing, a whopping £1.3m, Niall would recover from a six month hiatus through a serious knee injury before going on to score the first goal at the Stadium of Light and become one half of the most deadly strike partnerships I have ever seen.
#5 Dave Watson (Chris Weatherspoon)
Well, I was going to opt for Hurley but Mike's beaten me to it. Hence, I'll opt for Dave Watson. A hero in 1973 and a beast of a centre-back who would eventually make 65 caps for England, he's the perfect foundation for my side. Weighs in with a fair few goals for a defender too.
#6 Jimmy Montgomery (Dan Williams)
Well, getting in on the organisation plans, I'm going to pick Jimmy Montgomery first. Record number of appearances at the club, FA Cup hero and star of 'that save'.
#7 Ian Portfield (Dan Williams)
And, to get round two underway, another player from that team. Midfield general - Ian Porterfield.
#8 Ted Doig (Chris Weatherspoon)
Any good side is reliant on a solid defence - something which the Sunderland of recent history has all too often been lacking. Bearing that in mind, I'll go back over a century, returning with Sunderland's most successful ever goalkeeper. With a club record of seven consecutive clean sheets still to his name, and four league titles sitting on the mantlepiece, Ted Doig is the man selected as my last line of defence.
#9 Len Shackleton (David Boyle)
The Clown Prince of Football himself. Every side needs some guile and panache and Shack is just the man to bring that to my squad. Len was doing things with a football in the 50's that had never been seen before, often terrorising the opposition full-back with one-twos off the corner flag and even backheeling penalties. A true entertainer with a fantastic goalscoring record as well.
#10 Colin Todd (Michael Graham)
That's right, I'm taking another centre half *drools*! With Charlie Hurley to stop them, I need someone to supply quality possession to the midfield whilst still being strong defensively, and that man is player who Kenny Dalglish claimed was his toughest ever opponent - Colin Todd.
#11 Raich Carter (Simon Walsh)
I'm loading up in attack and selecting Raich Carter to partner SuperKev in attack. A club legend, a cup winner and cup final goalscorer. However I'll leave it to the great Stanley Matthews to endorse this pick, as he said of Carter "Carter was a supreme entertainer who dodged, dribbled, twisted and turned, sending bewildered left-halves madly along false trails. Bewilderingly clever, constructive, lethal in front of goal, yet unselfish."
#12 Charlie Buchan (Karl Jones)
*Curses Simon for JUST pipping me to Carter* Well, my reserve Round 2 choice was Charlie Buchan. Goals, goals, goals.
#13 Jimmy Hannah (Karl Jones)
Glad no-one stole this one! What would two goal machines be without someone to provide them? To continue the NFL analogy, your team is only as good as the 'weapons' you have so, in Round 3, two-time league winner Jimmy Hannah struts in. The Scot is comfortable on either side (apparently, and that will come in handy) with a decent goal scoring record of his own.
#14 Martin Harvey (Simon Walsh)
A relief. Karl didn't get revenge and take who I wanted. With having A fearsome strike force of Carter and Phillips, It's about time I took someone to make sure not every game ends up 7-6. That's why in the third round I'm taking Martin Harvey to build my defence around.
#15 Paul Bracewell (Michael Graham)
Continuing my 'build from the back' philosophy. I have Charlie Hurley to repel attacks, and Colin Todd to move the ball out of defence, now I need a distributor in midfield to dominate the ball and supply the attacking players. So I am taking the 1984 vintage Paul Bracewell, the one who soon went on to win two league titles, a European Cup Winners Cup, and England caps at Everton.
#16 Bobby Gurney (David Boyle)
Taking a completely different approach than Mr. Graham I am going to further stockpile my attacking options in this round with the addition of the most prolific striker in Sunderland history - Bobby Gurney - who across his incredible twenty-two year spell with SAFC managed to bag ten hat-ticks and even a "haul" (four goals) on two occasions. Gurney's goals helped Sunderland to the League Championship in 1936 and he also scored the first goal at Wembley in the lads' FA Cup win the following year.
#17 Dave Halliday (Chris Weathspoon)
Right rethink required...okay, with Gurney in Boyle's team now (*grumble*), I'll still opt for my decision to go for a striker. With the goalkeeper and one central defensive position sorted, my team needs to complete it's spine before we add the fleshy flair of wing players and suchlike. Hence, I'll opt for Dave Halliday. No trophies but a more prolific striker in a red and white shirt you will not meet. 12 hat-tricks (a club record), 100 goals in his first 101 games and the club's third-highest goalscorer ever. Added to the fact he also holds the club's greatest ever goals to game ratio (0.943!), and Halliday's the man to fire my team to glory.
#18 Dennis Tueart (Dan Williams)
I'll make another additition to my growing list of campaigners from the 73 season, and plump for Dennis Tueart. Devastating coming in from the left onto his right peg, he had the skills to pay the proverbial bills, and will be vital to not only my team's assists column, but with 46 goals in 178 appearances, he scores his fair share too.
Join us tomorrow for Rounds Three through Six as we assemble our all time Sunderland squads!