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The Draft: Day 3 - We fight it out to make SAFC's best second tier side of the last 25 years

We're battling it out to create the best Sunderland squad we can from players that have played for us in the Championship/First Division in the last 25 years. Today, we announce our 5th and 6th round picks.

The red and white tractor, John Kay
SAFC.com

Day two of the Roker Report draft saw our participants desperately trying to get their hands on some quality up top with the likes of Craig Russell, Michael Bridges and Marcus Stewart quickly snapped up.

The teams are starting to come together and today’s picks will be crucial in the writers’ attempts at forging together a solid side.

Here are our fifth and sixth round picks - whose side looks to be coming together nicely at this point?


Round Five

Damian: 33 - Danny Dichio

Daniele Salvatore Ernest Dichio has a wonderful name, that much is certain. He didn't have much of a chance to endear himself to the Sunderland faithful, competing against the obvious genius of a Quinn and Phillips pairing, but it's a testament to his ability that he notched double figures playing third fiddle for that beautiful partnership. He's not flash but he finds the net and, most importantly, he gets what we're trying to do here.

Fishpaste: 34 - Dickie Ord

This is maybe a little mischievous given I have just taken Martin Scott from an already shallow left-back pool, but I'm going to deplete the options even more by taking Richard Ord too.

I'll be using him as one of my centre backs, though there are plenty of good reasons as to why he remains such a firm favourite with fans.

Sunderland through and through, good defender, 'tricky' on the ball, and loved a long-ranger. Definite captain material for my side.

Gavin McCann celebrates the first goal Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Rory: 35 - Gavin McCann

I needed to get another big hitter in and with no central midfielders selected, I swooped in for Gavin McCann.

Signed midway through the 105 points season, McCann stood out in a very talented Sunderland midfield that contained the likes of Kevin Ball, Alex Rae and Lee Clark. He was a typical box to box man of his time, loving a tackle and equally enjoying getting up the other end to either thread a ball through or even have a go himself.

A good all rounder and I can reveal that a few of my fellow writers were fuming (fewwwmin) when I managed to get him.

Graham: 36 - Martin Smith

The son of Pele - my original Roker Park hero.

He’s a handy choice to have because he fits into many positions. A good number ten behind the front man, he could handle himself on the wing and also up top. He is remembered best as the finest youth talent that we had in the 90’s, yet one that ultimately never fulfilled that potential he had.

He was in and out of the team under Peter Reid, yet still managed 25 goals during his time here, going on to score 93 career league goals in total. He’s a proper Mackem too. He’s got to be included.

Gav: 37 - John Kay

He's the red and white tractor.... it's John FUCKING Kay.

This beast is a stalwart of over 239 professional games in a Sunderland shirt. He was hard as nails and the fans loved him - any man that shrugs off the pain of a severely broken leg by pretending to row a boat as he's being stretchered off the pitch is more than deserving of making my team.

Alan Shearer

Henchard: 38 - Dariusz Kubicki

Kubicki had won the League Cup and came second in the Premier League prior to joining Sunderland in 1994 as something of a bit-part player with Villa but, upon his arrival at Roker Park, really came into his own.

Solid, two-footed, read the game, consistent and nippy. Probably Sunderland's joint best right-back of the last quarter of a century. A pub debate over who was best, Kubicki or Makin, would be a decent ding-dong over a few pints.

Still one of the world's great mysteries is why Peter Reid dropped Kubicki to prevent him setting the post-war record for most consecutive appearances.

Walshie: 39 - Dwight Yorke

Sliding into the midfield in the tightest suit you'll ever see is everyone's favourite Trinidad & Tobagan (sorry, Stern John) Dwight Yorke. Swaggering by with a Champions League medal round his neck and a grin as wide as the Wear we're adding a smattering of much needed elegance to this rabble.

This is a man who took one look at Sydney and thought "nah not for me, I hanker for Jackie White's Market and Sunday afternoons in The Bridges" and that's the kind of attitude we like. When Roy Keane gave his old mate (dunno if they were mates, may have just made that up) a ring it took us all by surprise that he was actually decent and he played in midfield now.

Anyway, welcome aboard Yorkie.

Tom: 40 - Danny Collins

Danny Collins was a decent player who was a good servant to the club. Composed on the ball, and solid in defence, he did little wrong without every really standing out as a quality player.

Reliable and comfortable going forward, he’s a pretty straight forward choice for my team of grafters.


Round six

Tom: 41 - Paul Butler

Another strong, no-nonsense defender who wore his heart on his sleeve. A good player who perhaps could/should have played more for the club, Butler is a good addition to a sturdy defence.

The Pie Man wasn’t gifted with the finer aspects of footballing prowess, but his strength and defensive capabilities make him a good pick for my no-nonsense squad of grafters.

Crewe Alexandra v Sunderland Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Walshie: 42 - Sean Thornton

Now we enter the 'banter' stage of this team and who better to lead this cavalcade of fun than the King of Banter himself, Sean Thornton. A pearler of a right foot, an interchangeable hair colour and weight, a free-kick specialist - the boy has it all.

However, let's not get bogged down in the actual footballing capabilities when he has so many other strings to his bow.

Each victory can be celebrated with impromptu Vanilla Ice rapping until it gets pretty boring and Mart Poom knacks him. Then we can all head to Beach (if it's still there) or Passion or, even better, Arizona and drink Jagerbombs until we can't see and then get a donner kebab pizza from Chilino's.

Henchard: 43 - Steve Agnew

Inexplicably looks younger now than he did twenty-odd years ago when he arrived at Roker Park as a classy midfielder. Read the game well, calm and composed on the ball and a terrifically intelligent footballer. Another who enjoyed a decent career swansong at Sunderland.

The English Lombardo, Sunderland fans always appreciate class and always appreciate a player who will stick his foot in. Agnew possessed both traits and is fondly recalled, with his smattering of class goals a neat icing on my draft cake of goodies.

If you listen carefully to Cheer Up Peter Reid (the cassette version) you can here the great Charles Harrison commentating on Agnew's wonderful goal against Manchester United.

Gav: 44 - George McCartney

Shoring up the left hand side of my team with his old dance partner Julio Arca is George McCartney. When he was our first choice left back in the Championship, in our title-winning campaign under Mick McCarthy, he was simply fantastic and was voted our player of the season.

Jermaine Pennant of Arsenal and George McCartney of Sunderland Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Find me someone better in that position. No? I have this sewn up already.

Graham: 45 - Paul Bracewell

Whilst I'm not a fan of Brace in a coaching role, on the pitch few could touch him. His passing ability and the way he could just spin on the ball in the centre of the park was a joy to behold, even in his later years.

It’s no real surprise he was capped by England three times, which is even more impressive when you think of the midfielders England had around during his peak years.

Rory: 46 - Nyron Nosworthy

Sometimes erratic, often hilarious but never one to not give his all - Nyron Nosworthy. The one season Nuggsy spent in the Championship (while at Sunderland) transformed him from laughing stock to cult hero. Roy Keane moved him from right back to centre half, where his pace rarely allowed strikers to break past him and his fearlessness in the challenge meant he was a match for anyone.

Everton v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

In the latter half of the 06/07 promotion campaign Nyron formed a delightful partnership with a young Jonny Evans, a crucial cog in the push which sealed a return to the top flight. The scenes at Luton, where Nosworthy celebrated the title win by donning a trilby and singing along to his song, engraved his portrait on Mackem hearts.

When you come to vote at the end of this draft, just remember that I have Nyron and if they try to get the ball past him, he'll say no, no, no.

Fishpaste: 47 - Jason McAteer

Perhaps a controversial pick, but McAteer was a solid performer in difficult times for Sunderland. He was versatile, and may well end up at right-back in my side.

He also had plenty of pedigree behind him, even though we didn't see his best days.

With Summerbee, Phillips, and Bridges, fact is I need some energetic legs around them, and McAteer was a master at the dirty work.

Damian: 48 - Lee Howey

Lee Howey was one of the gooduns, on and off the pitch - it's a shame we can't say the same about his brother. I was going to have him at right back but he's versatile, so I'm going to put him up front next to Dichio for some added bite.