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The Forgettables: Four Planks From Sunderland's Past

Here is a chilling look at the kind of names from Sunderland's Championship past we somehow manage to escape going back to every year.

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The dust is starting to settle on yet another relegation-escape-job campaign, leaving us with the yearly summer reflection of our season disappointments.

However, optimism is once again filling the air after Mrs. Advocaat let her man come out to play for another season, leaving us discussing what the Little General's plans are for next season.

So, as Championship football beckoned as we approached the tail end of the season and looked a serious possibility, it got us thinking; just how bad would it have been to drop back down to the second-tier of English football?

In a light-hearted 'thank f**k we're not doomed for another season of lower league football' weekly feature, we'll take a look at some of the most obscure and forgotten players to be on the Black Cats' books at that level - and any level for that matter. We'll also throw in a few of the notable lads just for sanity reasons.

Simon Johnson

Remember this guy? Signed on-loan from Leeds United by Mick McCarthy, Johnson, an attacking winger/striker, joined the club on an initial one-month deal.

After impressing, the club extended the deal for an extra month, which left the Englishman, starved at opportunities at Elland Road, calling the move a rejuvenation of his career after signing:

"I've said before that I might have been going a bit stale at Leeds and the change of scenery has been good for me.

"You can stay at one club for too long and the loan to Sunderland has really kick-started things for me".

However, it wasn't. Johnson only managed to represent the club five times, four of which were substitution appearances.

From then on, the resurrected career saw him plummet down the leagues, representing both Darlington and Hereford United.

He was promoted to League One with The Bulls in the 2007/08 season, appearing for the club 33 times and scoring five times.

Where is he now? Well, I couldn't tell you. The 32-year-old most recently represented Hinckley AFC in 2014 and now appears to be a free agent.

Mark Lynch

Hooray for another Mick McCarthy special!

The right back was signed by the Irish manager in the summer of 2004, joining the club from Manchester United, for whom he only appeared once for - against Deportivo La Coruna in the Champions League when he scored a comical own goal.

He lasted just one season with club, amassing just 13 appearances.

After leaving and joining Hull City, his career reached new heights. On his debut, the Manchester-born defender suffered an injury within the first minute of the game before recovering and seeing the red card in his returning match. Like at Sunderland, he was released after only one season at the Tigers.

After spiraling down the league ladder, representing Yeovil Town, Rotherham United and Stockport County, Lynch's career came to a close in 2012 after his release from Altrincham.

Alan Quinn

Sunderland signed the Republic of Ireland international from Sheffield Wednesday on a three-month loan deal back in 2003, with Michael Reddy going in the other direction.

A fans-favourite at Hillsbrough, the midfielder joined the Black Cats to revive his faltering international career.

However, Quinn failed to impress - guess who? - Mick McCarthy, and only made six appearances during his time on Wearside.

After leaving Sunderland, unlike much of the others, he enjoyed relative success.

Following his release from Wednesday, he made the switch to rivals Sheffield United, where he would go on to represent the club in the Premier League, making 19 appearances.

After relegation, he failed to hold down a first team spot and joined Ipswich, initially on load.

Where is he now? At the grand-age of 35, the former Irish international now dons the amber colours of Handsworth Parramore in the Northern Counties East Premier Division.

Andy Marriott

After an impressive spell at Wrexham, where he made 255 appearances, Peter Reid swooped to bring the goalkeeper to the Stadium of Light in £200,000 deal.

However, the former Arsenal and Nottingham Forest man failed to oust Thomas Sorensen from the starting birth, and only made five appearances for the lads, three of which came in the cup.

After living on the bench during his three years at the club, he moved on to Oakwell, joining Barnsley on a free transfer.

Leaving the Yorkshire club in 2003, he would join five clubs before 2005. His most famous moment came in his only appearance for Birmingham City, where Robbie Keane snuck up behind him, stealing the ball away from his feet and tapping it into the net.

He continued his journey around English league clubs, representing Torquay United, Boston United and Exeter City, with the St James Park club becoming the 17th of his career.

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