clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Roker Report Draft: Worst XI Part One

Our contestants have gathered in the war room at Roker Report HQ. Eight contestants, twelve draft picks each - who can make the worst team? Today we reveal rounds one and two.

Pool/Getty Images

Yesterday we announced all the different bits and bobs you needed to know ahead of the draft, so click here and give it a read if you haven't already in order to get up to speed.

For the competitors it's important that they get their best picks in early, as nobody can afford to miss out on the ultimate shit Sunderland alumni in the early stages if they are to go on and win this competition.

For Rory Fallow, he has an outstanding opportunity to get ahead as with him being eighth, he gets to make two picks today. The same goes for James Gutteridge, as he gets the very first selection of the process.

So, here it goes... round one!

Round One

#1: @HawayTheJames - Roy O'Donovan

For my very first pick I'll go with Roy O'Donovan. Seventeen games, no goals, no skill, no pace - no hope.

O'Donovan was one of those Roy Keane signings that earned us the Sund-Ireland tag and brought absolutely no tangible qualities to the playing squad. He might have only have cost half a million but what an utter, utter waste of money.

In my side, O'Donovan will play up front.

#2: @SAFCElvis - Seamus McDonagh

For my first selection I'll build from the back, starting with the calamitous Seamus McDonagh - one from the infamous Lawrie McMenemy era, which in itself is surely worthy of inclusion, and famed for conceding seventeen goals in eight games.

As fit as Jonny Vegas - and just as talented between the sticks - McDonagh arrived on Wearside on loan from Notts County, and conceded howler after howler.

#3: @DJRoberts22 - Michael Ingham

I think the best way to build a team of crap is to start from the back, so before my colleagues get in there and poach my goalkeeping choice, I'll pick Michael Ingham.

The Northern Ireland international was signed from Cliftonville for thirty-thousand pounds and went on a journey of short-term moves (eight in all) during his six years at the club. In his time on Wearside, he made just two appearances, one in the cup and one in the Championship against Ipswich in a promotion battle, where he was largely uninspiring. Since he's left Sunderland, Ingham has represented struggling sides in League Two and the Conference, far from the glittering career we had hoped for when he signed back in 1999.

#4: @GRokerReport - Milton Nunez

Well I have two players that I really want and I’m not gambling on whether or not someone else chooses one of them, so I’m coming straight out the box and taking Milton Nunez.

We signed the wrong bloke. Does it get any shitter than that?

In fact he was so bad that people actually burst out laughing when he was paraded around the pitch. He played two halves of football, we realised we’d been sold a dud and then tried – and failed – to get our money back.

I’m not even sure there has ever been a worse player in our history, but I’m quite happy to be proven wrong. So, Milton Nunez – my number one pick.

#5: @CalMackay90 - Lionel Perez

There have been several poor goalkeepers for Sunderland in my life time who have cost us games. However, they have usually played in poor teams who would have failed anyway, or in successful teams and not cost us glory. But only one has cost us two entire seasons work in a row, when we were so close to success. Lionel Perez.

He’s a bit of a cult hero, so I know this may not be the most popular choice, but I’m sticking to my guns - take away his rolled up sleeves and devil-may-care hair, Perez was a terrible goalkeeper. He made the occasional good save, but these were in amongst many bizarre, flamboyant, unsuccessful and costly attempts to stop the ball. His legs always seemed to go dead when he dived, resulting either in the splits or a ludicrously gelatinous manipulation of his lower half as the ball trundled in to the net.

Had the experienced and impressive Tony Coton not broken his leg in 96/97 - which meant Perez taking over for the majority of the season - it is my belief we would have had a goalkeeper that earned us a few extra points and we’d have stayed up (we went down with forty points). Then, his multiple errors in the play off final cost us promotion in 97/98.

His general inadequacies and unreliability are enough, but taking all this into account, he’s earned his place in the worst XI for me.

#6: @Capt_Fishpaste - Gareth Hall

I'm frankly appalled and disgusted that my Roker Report colleagues have allowed this draft to get this far without this player being removed from the pool. It's not some fringe player who played the odd game here and there either. This man somehow made over fifty appearances for Sunderland, thirty-two of them coming in the Premier League.

A right back, and a totally wretched one at that. Couldn't defend, couldn't attack, couldn't even run, actually. He loved a punt up the line, but even they rarely stayed within the boundaries of the pitch. He just kind of stood there on a Premier League football pitch - an actual Premier League football pitch - dragging himself around like some hammer horror hunchback with a stupid haircut and a limp.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the dazzlingly dismal, the tremendously tragic, the stunningly shite... the myth, the man... the incontestably incomparable, Mr Gareth Hall.

#7: @SAFCSource - Kelvin Davis

Despite our struggles through the years, we have usually had good goalkeepers. That was the case with the 2005/06 season approaching, we had Thomas Myhre and Mart Poom at the club. Yet despite this and the fact the club had very little money to play with, Mick McCarthy went out and spent £1.25m on Kelvin Davis and got rid of both Myhre and Poom.

Davis came to Sunderland on the back of a good season with Ipswich Town but he never looked like bringing that form with him to Sunderland and from the outset was a shambles. Away to Chelsea comes to mind, a poor throw out by Davis is poorly controlled with the loose ball falling to Geremi who struck a daisy cutter right at Davis, who then proceeded to dive over the shot. Or how about away to Manchester City, when he dove out of the way of a Georgios Samaras effort? I could go on but recalling that season and Davis will give me nightmares.

He did have at least one good game during his Sunderland spell and that was at Old Trafford when we managed to come away with a point after a 0-0 draw. We were relegated after that game and that summed up Kelvin Davis for Sunderland, even when he did well, we all left the game depressed and wanting the longest season to end.

He was mentally weak, couldn't catch the ball, couldn't command his box, couldn't kick the ball, couldn't throw the ball and is well worth his place as my first choice.

#8: @RoryFallow - Paul McShane

Getting two consecutive picks is great but it certainly brings pressure. I'll continue the theme of building from the back, and choose Paul McShane.

When McShane made his debut many thought we had found ourselves a cult hero. He had funny hair and once tried to tackle a player that was just trying to line up a corner. Perhaps more attention should have been given to that incident - what kind of defender doesn't realise that the ball is obviously not currently in play?!

A string of poor performances, including a 3-0 defeat away to Wigan, saw McShane dropped from the side and when he was offered a chance of redemption in the FA Cup (another 3-0 defeat against Wigan) - he responded by scoring an own goal. Further misery came when an injury crises forced him to start away to Newcastle and less than five minutes into the game he forgot all about Michael Owen and the fact that he should be, you know, marking him and tracking him, basic defensive requirements really.

The Honeymonster didn't seem to fancy doing any of those things though, and Owen breezed past him to head the mags in front. I can't believe no one has picked him already given just how dreadful he was.

So, a solid first round for our contestants. No managers picked yet, but some truly horrific goalkeepers have left the pool, meaning there's likely to be a bit of a scramble when it comes to the other contestants that still need to select their stopper.

On to round two - Rory is up first (remember, the order of selection reverses with every passing round).

Round Two

#9: @RoryFallow - Sotirios Kyrgiakos

I recently read Zlatan Ibrahimovic's autobiography and he described Kyrgiakos as a 'good defender' ahead of Sweden's game against Greece in Euro 2008.

Well, Zlatan, you clearly didn't see his brief loan spell at Sunderland a few years later, because that statement never would have made the final edit of your book if you had been a viewer of the lads in 2012.

Remember when he came on away at Manchester City and made a massive contribution to us throwing away a brilliant lead? Or when he was bossed by Nikica Jelavic in the FA Cup quarter final replay against Everton, which led to him being hauled off just after half time?

Kyrgiakos was garbage during his time on Wearside and I'm sure him and McShane together will ship goals for fun in my side.

#10: @SAFCSource - Steve Hetzke

I am going to continue building the spine of the team - or, in reality, the lack of one - by picking a centre half. Namely, Steve Hetzke.

Hetzke signed for Sunderland from Blackpool to replace Shaun Elliott who had been sold to Norwich - which was a bad decision to start with - but Hetzke also went on to become arguably the club's worst player of all time (which is quite a feat considering how much dross we've all had to put with over the years).

After helping steer the club to their first ever relegation to the third tier of League football, he left the club to join Chester City. For many fans, Hetzke would be the first choice defender in any Sunderland worst XI.

#11: @Capt_Fishpaste - Clive Clarke

They say that full backs are crucial these days, and after watching Sunderland fail to stop a cross for roughly six years, it's tough to argue.

I've already got Gareth Hall for one side, and now I am going to add Clive Clarke in at left back. Crosses will rain down like fire upon my penalty area and it doesn't even matter who else I draft from now on because attacks will never get any further than one of my full backs lumping it up the line and watching it slowly drift harmlessly out of play.

I'll allow Roy Keane the final, albeit typically mischievous word: "On a night we got beaten in the Cup by Luton, the staff came in and said ‘Clive Clarke has had a heart attack at Leicester’. I said ‘Is he OK? I’m shocked they found one. You could never tell by the way he plays’."

#12: @CalMackay90 - Mark Lynch

I'm with Michael - full backs are important. That's why my second pick is right full back, Mark Lynch.

Lynch came from Manchester United having made one senior appearance and scoring an own goal during that game. Expectation was not high, but we could at least assume that he knew how to use a football. Alas, no.

His appearances at Sunderland appeared to show that he could barely control the ball, he couldn't run with the ball, he couldn't pass the ball and he couldn’t tackle. His lack of quality or of any general appreciation of how to play football was staggering. I remember him receiving the ball just before the half way line with ample opportunity to move forward. You could see his fear build as he stayed rooted to the same spot, considering whether to cross into opposition territory with the ball. He quickly decided to launch the ball forward to no one and stayed where he was.

The fact that he was so quickly cast aside by the coaching staff despite being only twenty-two years old and in a squad of young and eager players who had plenty of opportunities to demonstrate their abilities - many of whom earned and kept starting berths throughout the season - speaks volumes about Mark Lynch’s true level.

Whilst we didn't have to put up with him for long, he was certainly the only right back I have seen play for Sunderland with absolutely no redeeming features to his all-round game. He was way out of his depth even at Championship level. Mark Lynch, in terms of quality, has to be my right back.

#13: @GRokerReport - Lawrie McMenemy

I feel by being in the middle of the pack it might get very easy for me to fall behind quickly, so I'm going in hard with what I feel is an outstanding addition. I'm making a managerial appointment - Lawrie McMenemy.

McMenemy is quite often referred to as the worst manager in Sunderland history, having spent a fortune to ultimately see us relegated to the third division for the first time in the history of a once great football club.

At the time of his appointment McMenemy was the highest paid manager in English football, something which did not bode well with the supporters who were travelling home and away to see his side lose on an embarrassingly regular basis. Simply put, he was shite. McMenemy is a Southampton legend but was completely unable to replicate the successes he had on the South coast back in his home region.

So, my number two pick is the mackem enemy, Lawrie McMenemy.

#14: @DJRoberts22 - Howard Wilkinson

After seeing the chance of getting McMenemy for my team pass by, I'm going to have to move quickly and secure my my number two pick manager. Please step forward, Howard Wilkinson.

After leaving his role as FA Technical Director, he replaced the departing Peter Reid and oversaw one of the worst seasons in my Sunderland life. Joining in October, he won just two games out of a possible twenty, setting the foundations down for the club to end the season on a then league worst points tally with nineteen. He lasted exactly five months in the job and was replaced by Mick McCarthy two days later, bringing an end to his reign of terror at the Stadium of Light.

#15: @SAFCElvis - Jeff Whitley

Two words: Jeff Whitley.

Signed by Mick McCarthy for nowt in 2003 - because frankly that was all he was worth - Whitley was a plodder with zero passing ability, and tackled with all of the accuracy and grace of a crazed mammoth. Also, if we throw his penalty against Crystal Palace into the equation, we complete the picture of someone I consider a rather talentless lump.

#16: @HawayTheJames - John Oster

This next pick is a midfielder who promised much, delivered little and delivered even less in the form of assists or goals. John Oster was a solid signing on paper, and came at a reasonably low cost with what you might generously call 'unfulfilled potential'. However, that potential remained firmly unfulfilled while at Sunderland and his spell on Wearside, in almost unbelievable circumstances, involved shite off the pitch in the form of shooting a youth team player in the eye with an airgun and ending the boy's career. How he wasn't immediately sacked after that incident is anybody's guess. Truly, a shite teammate both on and off the field.

So, that's rounds one and two over. Our contestants still have another ten picks each to make - you can catch rounds three and four tomorrow.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report