But what, may you ask yourself in a state of what I’m sure is exasperated, perplexed disbelief, is the Sunderland Bastard XI? Why, it’s simply a team I’ve put together consisting only of the laziest, improper and most blood-boiling individuals to ever don the colours of Wearside.
It’s worth making note that simply not being very good isn’t enough to qualify for a spot in this hall of infamy – there’s got to be other factors to really make a name for yourself… albeit for all the wrong reasons.
Bring on the unlikeable, unlikely lads!
Goalkeeper – Kelvin Davis
Starting things off was the most difficult part of this selection, as I’ve always had fond memories of Sunderland goalies.
If I had to pick one for this team, however, it’d have to be Kelvin Davis. Whilst the only notoriety he really had at Sunderland was his horrendous form, he earns his place for an inclination for violence he evidently had at other stages of his career.
It’s gets worse from here on.
Left Back – Andrea Dossena
Not dissimilar to his performances in the season of 2013/14, Dossena is another contender for the weakest link in my side, and lurking in the shadow of more imposing figures.
That being said, Dossena qualifies for my team on the basis of a lethargic nature which his age couldn’t excuse him from. Despite that, Dossena was also arrested on suspicion of shoplifting from Harrods. Aye.
Centre Back – Pascal Chimbonda
How could I not include such a vain and ungrateful figure on this list - it’s players like Chimbonda that let this team sheet practically write itself.
Roy Keane didn’t shy away from the drastic unprofessionalism of the Guadalopean in his biography, not that you’d expect him to of course. Pascal allegedly refused to header the ball in training because he’d recently got new dreads, and once returned his wage slip on the basis it wasn’t good enough for him.
It’s just a shame his game wasn’t as big as his ego. Seeing as his post-Sunderland career has most recently involved him turning out for Carlisle United and then in Ligue 2. He’d probably rip his dreads out for a fraction of what we paid him then.
Centre Back – Calum Davenport
Davenport’s career was plagued with misfortune, but it’s difficult to sympathise with him when he brought half of it on himself.
Loaned in by Ricky Sbragia, Davenport brought a handful of uninspiring performances to an already abysmal back line.
Following his release from West Ham, his career dropped from professional level (largely due to some very unsavory off-the-pitch incidents), and evidently so did his attitude – if the stories of him assaulting people in his local leagues are anything to go by. Yikes.
Right Back – Jack Colback
Need I say more?
The ginger serpent had an average enough career with Sunderland, having come up through the youth ranks alongside Jordan Henderson, but made the retrospectively bad move of swapping stripes as he joined Newcastle on a free in 2014. Well, a bad move for him at least.
It wasn’t the nature of the transaction itself that earns him a place in this side, it’s how he went about doing it. Slating the club that shaped him as a footballer by stating that his time with us was "just a job" and how he "couldn’t face another relegation battle."
The latter of these two quotes could now be a contender for one of the most ironic statements in modern football.
Left Midfield – El-Hadji Diouf
The easiest choice on the list.
The world is full of a clash of beliefs and ideals, but if there’s one thing we can universally agree on, it’s that there is literally no likeable or redeemable qualities for the character that his El-Hadji Diouf.
A bad player with a bad attitude, the Senegalese international spat more times than he scored, although that’s not exactly a close call.
After six months in which Roy Keane - of all leaders - was unable to tame him, he left and branded everyone a "wanker".
Central Midfield – Lee Clark
Who could even consider omitting such a classic Wearside antagonist?
Clark joined Sunderland from Newcastle in 1997, and played a key role on the road to the then-first division play-off final. But he’ll never be remembered for that.
The 1999 FA Cup Final is the only outstanding memory any Sunderland fan will have of Clark, having been caught mid-jeer with a crowd of Geordies donning a shirt that read "Sad Mackem Bastards".
Someone with no visible conscience disrespecting his employers like that is a no-brainer for the heart of my midfield.
Central Midfield – Cabral
Unforgettable for being so typically forgettable, the Cape Verdean slumped into the shadows from day one, his work ethic being the catalyst for that.
Reports seeping out from around the training ground encompassed Cabral in nothing but negativity. An apparently miserable figure with no commitments beyond a weekly pay packet, he was easily the worst signing of a torrid bunch plucked from the obscurities of Europe by Roberto De Fanti.
Right Midfield – James McClean
Firing shots on social media better than he does on the pitch, you’ll often find James McClean taking to twitter to arbitrarily insult Sunderland; or more recently to pretend that he could take Lamine Kone in a fair fight – behind the safety of his keyboard, naturally.
Of course, I’d imagine entertainment is scarce enough as it is playing in a Tony Pulis West Brom side.
Centre Forward – Steven Fletcher
At first glance, this may seem like a very rogue inclusion. But honestly, it’s not.
Fletcher enjoyed a few spells of good form in his time at Sunderland, but he also enjoyed excessive gambling, drinking and tucking into a box of Krispy Kreme donuts mid-season. Nice and professional.
Centre Forward – Michael Chopra
The final pick for my unlikeable XI is another keyboard warrior, Michael Chopra.
Following a couple of decent enough seasons, Chopra drifted rather rapidly away from the first team and took to social media to have a go at Sunderland whenever he felt like it. Oh well.
And that’s it! The team has been chosen.
I’m sure there might be one or two that I’ve missed out – but that being said you’ll struggle to find a more detestable line-up than the one drawn up here.