Name: Jordan Henderson
From: East Herrington
Sold for: £20 million to Liverpool (then record fee for a youth player)
Achievements at SAFC: Young POTY 09/10 & 10/11, England cap
When Jordan Henderson was sold to Liverpool for twenty million pounds it was an unprecedented piece of transfer business - and perhaps the first notable example of the delicious fruit that the Academy of Light can potentially offer this football club.
Henderson made only 79 appearances for Sunderland but in his short time as a first-teamer here he showed enough to earn himself a place in the England senior squad, making his debut for the national side alongside Stephen Gerrard in a friendly against France.
Since leaving Sunderland, Henderson has gone on to become Liverpool captain and won the League Cup with the Merseysiders in 2012. Whilst his career with his boyhood club was relatively brief, he will no doubt go down as one of the greatest products that Sunderland have ever produced.
Name: Jimmy Montgomery
Achievements at SAFC: FA Cup winner in 1973
Perhaps the most beloved name on this entire list is Jimmy Montgomery - a man who needs no introduction to any true Sunderland supporter, regardless of which generation you hail from.
Monty’s debut for Sunderland came in 1960, and he went on to play 627 first team games - a club record.
His crowning moment was his terrific double save in the 1973 cup final against Leeds, something still renowned to this day for its magnificence.
Name: Raich Carter
Achievements at SAFC: League Champions 35/36, FA Cup winner in 1937
Earlier this year we profiled Horatio ‘Raich’ Carter here on Roker Report and I urge you all to read it - a fantastic career and life summary of a man who lived out the dreams of every young Sunderland supporter, captaining the team to a league title and FA Cup win.
Carter would have, without a doubt, gone on to win even more with the club had the English game not been brought to a halt by the war.
Factoring in his achievements as captain of Sunderland, Carter is without a doubt our most decorated home-grown talent.
Name: Gary Rowell
Achievements at SAFC: Mag-slayer
Whilst Rowell may not have a glittering array of domestic achievements alongside his name, he’ll be forever remembered as the man who scored a hattrick at St James’ Park in a game with our hated neighbours Newcastle United.
Playing both up front and in midfield on almost 300 occasions for Sunderland, Rowell once held the club-record for the most goals scored post-war - a record he held until it was broken by Kevin Phillips in 2001.
Voted ‘Sunderland’s all-time cult hero’ in 2005, Rowell’s status as a club icon will remain forever - not a matchday goes by where fans both young and old proudly sing his name.
Name: Colin Todd
Sold for: £175,000 to Derby (then British transfer record for a defender)
Achievements at SAFC: FA Youth Cup winner 1967
Colin Todd’s career away from Wearside is perhaps what is most notable about his addition on this list.
Having left Sunderland to sign for Brian Clough’s Derby County in 1971, Todd was at the heart of a Rams defence that conceded just 33 goals and won the first division league title, a monumental achievement considering they had only been in the top flight for two seasons. Todd and Derby won a second league title in 1975, this time under the stewardship of Dave Mackay.
He played 27 times for England, 191 times for Sunderland and managed clubs in both England and Denmark.
Not bad for a lad from Chester-Le-Street.
Name: Michael Gray
Achievements at SAFC: 3 England caps, 2 division one titles
Sitting 9th in Sunderland’s all-time appearances list is Michael Gray, a player who’s career with the club spanned fourteen years and 410 games.
Though Gray isn’t perhaps viewed as favourably as some of the other names on this list, he too lived out the dreams of every boyhood Sunderland supporter - he captained the club, scored against Newcastle, won the league (twice) and played for England.
Name: Jordan Pickford
Sold for: £30m to Everton (SAFC club record fee)
Achievements at SAFC: England caps at youth level
Last but not least is Jordan Pickford - the man who brought Sunderland thirty million pounds when he was sold to Everton; a club record for a fee received for a player.
Despite having played for the shortest amount of time of all the players on this list, Pickford left Wearside much-loved by our supporters and the expectation is that he will go on to enjoy a career at the elite-end of the game - should he fulfill that potential, it is without a doubt that he will go on to achieve perhaps more than any other Sunderland youth product in history.
Who is Sunderland’s greatest ever youth product?
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