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Top Five: Sunderland's Greatest Ever Goalkeepers

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Who are the five greatest goalkeepers to have ever played for Sunderland? Graham Macmillan-Mason ranks them from 5 to 1.

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Sunderland v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

5: Simon Mignolet

101 (1) Apps - Signed from St. Trudent - Sold to Liverpool

Simon Mignolet was bought in Steve Bruce's second season, as back up to then-record buy Craig Gordon. Not a great deal of fanfare surrounded the capture of the Belgian, who was also sought after by PSV Eindhoven.

The injury prone Gordon gave Mignolet a chance to shine immediately, however. Despite competent displays, he twice lost his place in the side - firstly to the Scottish international, and then a season later to Keiren Westwood.

The 23-year-old returned from a broken nose leading up to the game vs Manchester City on New Years' Day wearing a protective mask, with Westwood ruled out through flu. One of the most memorable games at the Stadium of Light was also where he would come to the fore, remaining in the side under Martin O'Neill until his sacking, and then also being his predecessor Paolo Di Canio's number one between the sticks.

In his final season at the club he won Player of the Year, almost single-handedly keeping us up with a string of outstanding performances, including an unbelievable display against Newcastle at St. James Park.

He left to join Liverpool at the end of that season, but he is remembered fondly on Wearside.


4: Tony Norman

Apps 227 (1) - Signed from Hull City - Sold to Huddersfield Town

Perhaps a surprising choice you may feel - many will cite the famous line and it's an easy one for Norman! Whilst Norman was prone to a clanger or two, he was also a bloody good goalkeeper.

Brought in for a then record fee of £500,000 by Denis Smith, Norman was Sunderland's number one throughout the 1992 FA Cup run. Many of you will remember his Man of the Match displays in the lead up to the final, producing outstanding saves and a cool head in the games at home to Chelsea and away at West Ham. His save from Tim Breacker in that West Ham game is remembered fondly - possibly one of the finest that I've ever seen.

Norman is the only goalkeeper to perform at Wembley for us twice.


3: Chris Turner

Apps 224 (1) - Signed from Sheffield Wednesday - Sold to Manchester United

Chris Turner

Also known as The Cat, and quite rightly so, Chris Turner was bought from Sheffield Wednesday and helped us to promotion in his first season, most notably keeping six consecutive clean sheets along the way.

Another that appeared in a great cup run for the club, Turner starred in the 1985 Milk Cup team, and the reflexes that coined his nickname were complemented by great handling - he was a supreme goalkeeper.

Turner departed for Manchester United in 1988. Later, he would play 42 games under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson, a manager who undeniably had an eye for a good footballer.

Turner coached at the Sunderland following his retirement from playing - most interestingly, however, he was heavily linked with the vacant CEO role at the club earlier this year following the resignation of Margaret Byrne.


2: Thomas Sorensen

Apps 192 - Signed from Odense BK - Sold to Aston Villa

When I'm old and grey, Thomas Sorensen is the goalkeeper I'll tell my grand kids about.

Bought by Peter Reid following our heartbreaking Play-Off Final defeat at the end of the previous season, the Dane was everything you could possibly want in a goalkeeper -he was vocal, a good shot stopper, excellent on crosses and a cult hero.

"Oh Tommy, Tommy..." was often chanted as he came out to his goal, normally acknowledged by a thumbs up. Cool, calm and collected, he never seem flustered.

Sorensen conceded only 18 goals in 46 games in his debut season in 1998. His defining moment came in 2000, though - with the Lads leading 1-2 at St. James Park against Newcastle, he saved a penalty from Alan Shearer right in front of the Gallowgate.

Hero status ensued from that day forth but his consistency and likable persona made him one of the Sunderland greats - it was a travesty his final season here ended in such disappointing fashion.


1: Jimmy Montgomery

627 (4) Apps - Signed as Youth - Sold to Birmingham City

Who else but Monty?

Born in Hendon in October 1943, Jim Montgomery quite simply a living legend, and he's one of our own too. Responsible for the best double save that there has perhaps ever been in the history of the FA Cup, he is also our record appearance maker.

Serving the club over an incredible seventeen-year span, his heroics in the FA Cup Final from Trevor Cherry and Peter Lorimer is perhaps Sunderland AFC's most iconic moment, closely followed by Bob Stokoe, in his trilby hat, and his famous run to Monty at the final whistle in the same game.

Sunderland v Stoke City - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Our Monty had a marvelous career at his home town club that few will ever get close to.

He also is the owner of a a European Cup Winners Medal, despite not appearing in the line up for Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest side of 1980. He later went on to become a coach at the club, but now holds the position of club ambassador.

Will anybody ever oust Monty as our greatest ever goalkeeper? Doubtful.