I am disappointed to miss out on Sunderland’s success. I wanted to stay and Sunderland wanted me, but the gaffer had a few injury problems and he pulled me back. They said they wanted a winger to give them a supply of crosses to try and improve their goal scoring and I enjoyed my time up there.
Under new manager Peter Reid we were having an absolute stormer of a season. A back line of Kubicki, Melville, Ord and Scott had built up a defence that by season end only conceded a total of 33 goals (almost 20 less than the nearest goals against tally in the league). With 1-0 wins aplenty, Manager Reid decided to give us a chance to improve on our goals tally by signing Manchester United young player of the year Terry Cooke to provide the ammunition for top scorer Craig Russell, originally on a one month loan with a view to a longer term agreement.
The winger’s debut began in an unusual 3-0 defeat away to Wolves though, as ex-Mackem Don Goodman helped Wolves to a comprehensive win that would take Sunderland down to 5th in the league. There was to be only one more defeat that season though as we stormed the league and going promotion under the guidance over Reidy, with Cooke being part of a team that put together a four match unbeaten run.
Despite the next two games yielding draws for Sunderland, at home to Port Vale and away to Portsmouth respectively, two wins on the trot without conceding at home to Ipswich and Luton made sure Cooke ended his loan spell on a high.
Despite attempts to bring him back to club shortly after his loan spell had ended, Reid never went to back to Alex Ferguson in the summer to try and bring the fresh faced youngster back to the club after promotion, with Cooke instead moving on loan to Birmingham City and Wrexham in the 1996-1997 season.
He eventually found a home across the blue side of Manchester, where he signed a 3-year-deal after a successful loan spell at Maine Road in the summer of 1999. City paid one million pounds to bring him in, and he enjoyed success as part of the side that won the Division Two play-off in dramatic fashion which has since gone down in Man City folklore. Despite achieving a second successive promotion with them the season later however, he fell out of the first team picture and was again farmed out to numerous clubs as the Citizens made their way back to the promised land of the Premiership. Spending two years bobbing around clubs such as Wigan and Sheffield Wednesday, Cooke was sadly a casually of the success the club were having as they successfully remained in the Premiership, bringing in the likes of Ali Benarbia, who would become a fans favourite.
Following his release from Manchester City, he linked up with Paul Groves at Grimsby Town where he played a total of 25 games before a fall out with Groves overshadowed his time at the club. Rather interestingly the signing of former Grimsby hero John Oster from ourselves on loan had meant Cooke to lost his place in the team, as the Welsh international successfully made the spot on the right wing his, all of this despite protests from the Mariners fans begging for the England-Under-21 international’s inclusion in the match day squad. Eventually the feud became too much for Cooke and he made a move to another former club he had spent time at loan for, making a move to Sheffield Wednesday.
After only one season for the Owls, Cooke eventually did what so many other British footballers have done since and emigrated to America to play in what would become the MLS, retiring in 2011.
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