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Who makes Peter Reid's 'best' Sunderland XI & do his players agree with his picks?

A few years ago Mark Harrison spoke to Peter Reid and discovered who the legendary boss would include in his best Sunderland XI. But would a trio of the players who worked with him agree with his choices? Let's find out.

Leicester v S''land X

Peter Reid was appointed Sunderland manager 22 years ago at the end of this month. His seven-and-a-half year reign encompassed promotions, a relegation and two top ten Premier League finishes.

Reid is still recalled with fondness in the North East for that period of football on Wearside. His brand of the game brought passion and excitement to Roker Park and the Stadium of Light, and players who could deliver it.

But who did he rate as his 'Best XI' from the lads who played for him at Sunderland? And would those who played for him, agree with his selection? In words captured by Mark Harrison, Reid picked his favourite players from the era and we mashed it up with interviews our Graham has done with Darren Holloway and Alex Rae as well as a feature the Newcastle Chronicle published with Super Kev last year.

Peter Reid's Ultimate Sunderland XI:

Here's the gaffer's thinking behind his selections and who his players would have picked in each position.


The best player I ever played with, across my whole career including England, would be Neville Southall.

For Sunderland I could choose Thomas Sorensen - he was a great shot stopper and is still playing now - a great keeper.

Thomas Sorensen of Sunderland Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

But, Tony Coton when he was fit was the better keeper. He was a great shot stopper and a huge influence and character on the team. He would be my number one.

Tony Coton of Sunderland in action

Alex Rae: Tommy Sorensen

Darren Holloway: Tommy Sorensen

Kevin Phillips: Tommy Sorensen

Right Back

Chris Makin. You knew what you would get out of him every week. He was a great lad and a reliable player. We had a great dressing room and he was always in the middle of the fun the lads were having.

Alex Rae: Chris Makin

Darren Hollway: Chris Makin

Kevin Phillips: Chris Makin

Spurs v Sunderland x
Chris Makin

Left Back

Michael Gray. I have to go for him - he was a good attacking full-back, not sure about his defensive qualities, but he never got done at the back stick. He handled the football well, though in the final third of the pitch his final pass needed work. I remember the right footer at St James' - not a bad effort. Julio Arca would run him close, mind, but Micky was an ever present.

Alex Rae: Michael Gray

Darren Holloway: Michael Gray

Kevin Phillips: Michael Gray

Michael Gray


Steve Bould. His legs were gone but for six months he was tremendous for us and a great signing. He was a real organiser, so underrated. He won so many things and was truly top drawer. His first game was against Chelsea and we lost 4-1 mind.

Steve Bould

Andy Melville. He had no pace but he read the game so well. Him and Bould never played together but would have been a great pairing.

Alex Rae: Steve Bould & Andy Melville

Darren Holloway: Steve Bould & Thomas Helmer

Kevin Phillips: Steve Bould & Jody Craddock

Paul Merson
Andy Melville

The Midfield

Kevin Ball was a leader of men, a touch impulsive at times but when he played in midfield he was more restrained and went into battle for the lads week in week out.

Kevin Ball of Sunderland
Kevin Ball

Paul Bracewell. I always thought he would be a great manager, he has been unlucky and I think underrated. He was the best signing I made, probably the best player I worked with and it’s a shame we got him at the end of his career. That said he was amazing for us.

Paul Bracewell of Sunderland
Paul Bracewell

Stefan Schwarz. He knew the game and read it well - he was a fantastic player and oozed class. It was such a shame we lost him to injury and that cut a great career short. Stefan Schwarz was one of those players where you never knew how good he was until you didn't have him. The Achilles injury was a big shame. He was a clever player. We had to change the style when we lost Allan Johnston and I played Schwarz narrow so Micky Gray could bomb down the line.

Stefan Schwarz, Robbie Blake
Stefan Schwarz

Nicky Summerbee was a fantastic crosser of the ball, a real attacking outlet for us. His dad was a great player and despite the comparison Nicky showed his class flying down the line and whipping them in.

Nicky Summerbee and Marc Edworthy
Nicky Summerbee

Alex Rae: Allan Johnston, Gavin McCann, Kevin Ball, Nicky Summerbee

Darren Holloway: Allan Johnston, Gavin McCann, Kevin Ball, Nicky Summerbee

Kevin Phillips: Allan Johnston, Alex Rae, Kevin Ball, Nicky Summerbee

Alan Johnston of Sunderland chases a ball as he gets tackled by Charlton Athletic's Shaun Newton
Allan Johnston


Niall Quinn. Very intelligent and clever, and a strong leader. I played with him and knew what I would get. He ran the dressing room and was an inspiration to the others.

Niall Quinn

Kevin Phillips. I saw him play for Watford and thought 'who is that pain in the arse player'? He was very niggly and quick, and a real thorn in your side. I knew that George Burley was after him and I fancied him, so I got Bobby Saxton into my office and I knew we had to have him. Kev was a good lad and really good player. If you get thirty goals in the Premier League it tells it's own story.

Kevin Phillips of Sunderland Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Alex Rae: Niall Quinn & Kevin Phillips

Darren Holloway: Niall Quinn & Kevin Phillips

Kevin Phillips: Niall Quinn & (of course) Kevin Phillips

Kevin Phillips and Peter Reid of Sunderland
Kevin Phillips & Peter Reid

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