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Forgotten Black Cats: Brian Deane

Joining our Hall Of Fame of Forgotten Black Cats such as William Mocquet, Stuart Holden, Gerry Harrison and Clive Clarke is former England international forward Brian Deane.

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"Brian will be a terrific addition. He offers us something different. He'll thrive on the kind of service we can give him and we're well aware of the problems he can cause teams."

Mick McCarthy, March 2005

Brian Deane - four appearances, zero goals and one promotion as a Sunderland player.

From time to time when talking with friends, Deane's name will crop up and it's almost as though I'm the only person that actually remembers that he used to play for us.

At a time when we were on the brink of promotion, had no money and a fairly shallow squad of players to select from, the former England international was brought in to Sunderland on a short-term contract at the end of 2005 in order to give Mick McCarthy another option up front.

Earlier in the season, Deane played a blinder against us for Leeds at the Stadium of Light, combining well with David Healy for the Leeds opener before scoring a thumping header for their second.

Despite his age, Deane had already shown Sunderland supporters that he was capable at that level and his signing was met with a sense of intrigue, as adding an experienced player at a time when experience was much needed was sensible business.

Steven Elliott and Marcus Stewart had been shouldering the brunt of the goalscoring responsibility following a long term injury to Kevin Kyle early in the season, and when an experienced forward like Deane became available it was seen by many as a fairly risk-free move by McCarthy.

The first game Sunderland played after Deane joined was away at Wigan Athletic, and though he wasn't used it was a game that is seen as the defining moment in that season, with the win firmly cementing Sunderland as the divisions top side. With the pressure off slightly, Deane was used as a substitute late in the games which followed, first against Reading at the Stadium of Light and then again one week later away at Ipswich - Deane played a huge part in the goals scored by Stephen Elliott and Carl Robinson that put us ahead, only for a late Darren Bent equaliser to spoil Sunderland's party.

One week later, Sunderland secured their promotion with a win over Leicester City at the Stadium of Light and, again, Deane was used as a substitute late in the game when we were ahead. With our sights firmly on winning the league with Alan Pardew's West Ham to play at Upton Park, a late Stephen Elliott winner and a world-class performance from youngster Ben Alnwick in goal sent the Sunderland fans home happy, with Deane once again entering late in the game - his last appearance as a Sunderland player.

So, yeah, he wasn't a particularly inspiring or brilliant signing but Brian Deane still played for Sunderland once upon a time and had a hand in sending us to the Premier League, as hard as that is to believe.

Having made his first appearance for us at the age of thirty-seven, Deane sits in the Sunderland record books as our oldest ever debutant, a record unlikely to ever be broken. He also scored the first ever Premier League goal when a Sheffield United player, represented England and even spent a season at the tail end of the nineties at Benfica. Deane had twelve moves in his whole career - he was never loaned out - including three spells at Bramall Lane, the second of which began with a debut against Sunderland on the opening day of the 1997-1998 season.

To say he was well travelled would be an understatement.