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Sunderland’s 20 Most Bizarre Signings: Part 4, ft. men signed specifically for banter purposes

There’s been quite a few, hasn’t there? You’ve seen 15 of our most bizarre buys so far, but who makes the top five?

Sunderland AFC

5. Emmanuel Eboue

Bizarre yet impressive signings were a staple of Sam Allardyce’s tenure as manager at Bolton Wanderers during the 2000s - Youri Djorkaeff, Jay-Jay Okocha and Fernando Hierro all lined up for the Lancashire side during Big Sam’s reign. He was a complete opportunist, bringing in stars no longer capable of competing at the top who were available on the cheap - and it worked.

Where Emmanuel Eboue may not have been an Arsenal ‘star’, he had certainly played at a higher level than Billy Jones and was far more experienced than our on-loan full back DeAndre Yedlin.

Unfortunately for ourselves, we never got to see a single second of him as news soon came to pass that he was banned from playing by FIFA due to a disagreement with his agent over fee’s that were owed.

Yeah... you probably should have mentioned that, Emmanuel.

A rare sighting of Emmanuel Eboue in SAFC branded clothing.
Sunderland AFC

4. James McFadden

When it comes to odd transfers, the Martin O’Neill era was a little strange wasn’t it? He seemed to quite enjoy signing players that were horribly average, or were way past their best.

The likes of Louis Saha and Wayne Bridge were at least seasoned internationals that had played in the World Cup and had success on the Europeon stage in their prime, but McFadden was an ageing unfulfilled talent who had only really shone whilst playing in the SPL.

He’d also been released by both Everton and Birmingham City in the seasons prior to him joining, and hadn’t scored a single goal in almost three years - and let’s remind ourselves, we’d spent £23m only months before on a position that McFadden was seemingly brought in to offer some competition.

He made three sporadic substitute appearances and did the square root of bugger all, only to then leave for bloody Motherwell.

Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Capital One Cup Fourth Round
Unbelievable to think McFadden was only 29 years-old when we signed him.
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

3. Joleon Lescott

Bottom of the league and need reinforcements at the back? Why don’t-cha bring in Joleon Lescott on £30k per week?! He’ll be sure to improve relations between fans and players by replying to tweets with pictures of classy cars, worst case scenario.

On a serious note, the signing of the former Villa defender really was the moment a lot of fans started truly questioning the sanity of David Moyes.

Opting to sign Papy Djilobodji to replace Younes Kaboul and Didier Ndong to replace Yann M’Vila weren’t exactly popular decisions (and rightly so) - but the decision to award Lescott a well-paid contract was baffling for just about every reason imaginable.

A) his wages were obscene for a player who was brought in as back-up, b) his misdemeanors and form at Aston Villa the season previous had shown he was definitely not the character or talent we needed to turn around a desperate season, and finally c) he wasn’t even fit!

David Moyes, you make me spit.

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League
Plank.
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

2. Mika

He could have been hurtful, he could be purple, he could be anything you like - but he was just a big fat waste of cash.

Not even a hilarious name could justify spending TWO MILLION POUNDS on a third choice goalkeeper that I’m not 100% convinced anybody at the club had watched.

With Vito Mannone injured and Jordan Pickford still inexperienced, the clown who masquerades as a manager - David Moyes - decided he needed to spend what little money we had on an experienced third choice goalkeeper that he had no intention of playing ever, at any point. Two million? TWO F**CKING MILLION POUNDS.

It’s not really the fault of Michael Simões Domingues that we signed him. More money, potential Premier League football? Well, which player wouldn’t!

We don’t even know if the wee man was even any good, to be fair.

“I could be hurtful, I could be purple, I could be anything you like, gotta be green, gotta be mean gotta be everything more” sang Mika on his arrival at the AoL.
Premier League

1. Milton ‘Tyson’ Nunez

Entering the pitch during the half-time break of a home game against Everton, the tiny Honduran striker jabbing at thin-air whilst a bemused crowd of mackems watched on probably should have been clear evidence something was a little off with this one.

He didn’t look like a footballer, he made Kevin Phillips look like a giant and he was inexplicably given the nickname “Tyson” - yet, somehow, someone somewhere convinced Peter Reid to part with £2.6m in order to bring him to the Stadium of Light.

Rumours have since floated around that Reidy had seen a video of a completely different player and signed him based on that. Was he duped? The former manager has since denied such allegations, but the title of the most bizarre signing in Sunderland’s history goes, without a shadow of doubt, to this absolute mystery of a purchase.

Just what the f**k were we doing?

Milton Nunez
What the utter f**k was Peter Reid doing with this fella.