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Player Of The Last Ten Years Poll, Round One: Mart Poom Vs George McCartney

A head to head of two players with one Sunderland goal between them hardly screams an incredible matchup, until you look at the names and see that this one could be quite the doozy. Who's gonna go through though? The Estonian or the Northern Irishman? You decide!

Dan Istitene

Mart Poom

I could say a lot about Mart Poom. I could talk about the stability he gave Sunderland after one of the club's darkest hours; the 2002/03 season during which the club were relegated with just 19 points. I could talk about how his £2.5 million capture from Derby was one of the few positive impacts Howard Wilkinson had on the club he briefly managed. I could bring up the many wonderful saves he produced, the control he held over his penalty area, or the fact that he looks like the lead actor from a straight-to-DVD action film.

However, despite his many excellent qualities, Mart Poom will always be remembered on Wearside for one moment; a moment that has earned him cult status with fans, despite the fact he only really managed one full season in Sunderland colours before injury took its toll. Playing away at his former team Derby, another club for whom he was adored by fans, it looked like Poom and his teammates were heading for defeat when Ian Taylor put the ball into the back of the net on the 90 minute mark to give the Rams the lead.

However, just minutes later, deep into stoppage time, the away side won a corner. Poom came charging from his own box and leapt like a salmon to smash the ball into the back of the net with his head to give Sunderland an equaliser. There are very few things more joyous in football than a goalkeeper scoring, and, with the timing and quality of the goal, this one ranks as one of the most memorable of all time, and the main reason as to why you should vote for the big Estonian.

*Warning. This video contains 6 seconds of Andy Townsend*


George McCartney

One of our most successful youth products since the Premier League began, McCartney made 203 appearances for Sunderland, including 98 in the Premier League, an amount that is second only to Michael Gray for Premier League appearances for Sunderland by a player to come from our Academy.

Joining the club in 1998, McCartney rose through the ranks until he made his first team debut in 2000, understudy to Gray until he left for pastures new, McCartney was a consistent performer at the back after his breakthrough. Ringo, as he was known, won Sunderland's Player of the Year award in the club's 2004/05 Championship winning season.

Injuries and the team's poor form seen him move to West Ham in a part-exchange deal with Clive Clarke, a move that worked out much better for McCartney than it did for Sunderland, with his performances for the Hammers making AC Milan consider him as Paolo Maldini's long-term replacement (I should point out that I didn't make that up to get a few more votes!). With Clarke unable to get into the side and hen suffering a heart scare, Sunderland struggled to replace Ringo, which left the club with only one option.

After Milan failed to follow-up their interest (what? it happened), McCartney re-signed for Sunderland for a fee in the region of £6.5m, the second biggest fee ever paid out for a Sunderland youth product, only beaten when Jordan Henderson moved to Liverpool.

The less said about his second, injury blighted spell the better but McCartney was a particularly good servant of the club during his first spell, in a position that we have struggled to fill adequately since his he first joined West Ham and during a turbulent time for the club on the pitch. (AT)


Be sure to make your vote count and send one of these two through to the next round. Make your voice heard below, because you only have until 11pm (GMT) tonight to get your vote in...

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