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Ellis Short’s 100+ Sunderland signings: Part I - scraping the barrel!

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Six months or so on from Ellis Short’s Sunderland departure, we take on the wondrous task of ranking his 104 signings from worst to best. Enjoy (if you can) number 104 all the way through to 79.

Hull City v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

*Sunderland under Ellis Short officially made 108 signings to be exact, but with David Moberg-Karlsson, Steve Harper, Mika and Emmanuel Eboue not actually making a single appearance, they have not been included.


104: Adam Johnson

Currently in prison and brought disgrace to the club, he couldn’t be anywhere else but bottom of the list.


103. Lee Camp

Who else but biscuit fingers? The worst footballing signing we’ve ever made under any Chairman. Period.


102. Jack Rodwell

The future England centre-back is lucky that Lee Camp existed otherwise he’d be the bottom of this pile by a country mile. The £10 million squandered on this absolute waster is probably the worst bit of business this club will ever do.


101. Jozy Altidore

To think we turned down Romelu Lukaku on loan for this bloke.

Likable? Yeah, without a doubt, but a goal scorer he was not. In fact, I’d question if he was even a footballer. Another £6 million down the drain.

Burnley v Sunderland - Premier League
That’s £24m worth of player there. Jozy, Connor Wickham and Rodwell. Woah.
Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

100. Joleon Lescott

Is it fair to have a player who was a free transfer and only played two games for the club this far down the list? Yes.

Lescott epitomised the David Moyes era and if that doesn’t make you angry, then you’ve been doing too much yoga.


99. Jason Steele

Currently strutting his stuff on the bench at Premier League side Brighton, another biscuit fingered goalkeeper from last term makes the bottom half of this table.

We actually lost money on this bloke, too. Thanks, Simon.


98. James Vaughan

Upset that the fans are saying nasty things about you because you can’t hit a barn door with a banjo? Want to strengthen that relationship? Why don’t you cup your ears to them when you score a tap in.

James Vaughan cost us £500k, which was basically our entire transfer budget. What a bloody waste!

Sunderland v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship
Looking back, James Vaughan was a bad choice.
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

97. Brendan Galloway

What the hell was this all about? Arrived with plenty of promise, had been playing Premier League football, yet is probably the worst left-back this football club has ever seen.

In all seriousness, though, where did Galloway go? Is he okay? If someone could Tweet him or something to check please, that would be appreciated.


96: Cabral

There you are, you little scamp you. Welcome to the banter section of the hot 104, where we delve from the terrible to the terrible, but kinda funny.

Adilson Taverez to give him his official name - the King of the Hong Kong trophy (or whatever it was called). What a joke.


95: James McFadden

See, I told you we’d entered the banter phase. Wee Jimmy McFadden zooms into number 93 with his receding hairline and Glaswegian scowl. Grr.


94: Andrea Dossena

Just as Roberto De Fanti’s claw-crane had seemingly grabbed Benjamin Mendy, in true fairground fashion it slipped through his grasp at the last minute.

But, never deterred, Robbie stepped forth with another 20p and surprisingly pulled out a former Liverpool and Napoli full back... Shame it was Andrea Dossena.

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League
Free transfer he may be, but it still wasn’t worth it.
Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images

93: Nacho Scocco

Despite having a penchant for South American flair, it turned out that Scocco was just Nacho kind of player, was he Gustavo?

Much like this signing, that pun was a terrible mistake. Sorry.


92: Ricky Alvarez

Part of me contemplated putting our Ricky at the bottom of the pile. He cost us loads despite not being our player and is probably going to cost us even more.

His name lingers on Wearside, much like a fart in a lift, but then I remember how good he was against Fulham away - a game I watched whilst getting trashed on Sangria in Barcelona - and for that reason alone he gets a pass.


91: Kader Mangane

He was huge and in hilarious fashion played against the Mags when we stuffed them 3-0.

Verdict? Worth it.


90: Kazenga Lua Lua

Some people got really annoyed when we signed this “ex Mag”. I don’t know why. Ultimately, though, Kazenga did nowt.

Birmingham City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
Chris Coleman brought in a lot of crap, didn’t he?
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

89: Robbin Ruiter

I’m sorry Robbin, I really am. I’m sure you’re a really nice guy. You seemed pleasant enough on Netflix and all, and you’ve been alright in the Checkatrade this season.

Look, it’s not you... it’s me. I just can’t forgive that Millwall game.


88: Sotirios Kyriakos

He may be quite far down our list, but he won’t care as he’s a hit in cinemas right now, starring as DC superhero Aquaman. Couldn’t defend though.


87: Jake Clarke-Salter

Remember when we were told he was the next John Terry? Hahahahaha!


86: Louis Saha

Seemed to make sense at the time, but I’m not even sure we got the same Louis Saha that Manchester United and Spurs did.

Anyway, he did get kicked in the head once and ran around a bit in the League Cup against Middlesbrough (we lost).

He never scored, though.


85: Marc Wilson

Goodness me, he was rubbish wasn’t he? The look of hope on Martin Bain’s face during ‘Sunderland Till I Die’ when he signed him spoke volumes.

Can you be overpriced even as a free transfer?


84: Steven Pienaar

It wasn’t Steven’s fault that Moyes wanted it to be 2003 again, was it?

Sunderland v Southampton - Premier League
Moyes getting the band back together.
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

83: Benjani

Brought in as an alternative to Kenwyne Jones - another outlet that could score goals. He scored precisely ZERO goals and you’d be hard pushed to find someone who even remembers a shot on target from him.


82: Javier Manquillo

The Mags love a poor former SAFC player don’t they? The Spaniard is still somehow playing Premier League football.

Thankfully, we only had to deal with his terrible defending for one season.


81: Charis Mavrias

Ah, Greek Harry. He didn’t look that bad when he actually got on the pitch that one time.


80: Ovie Ejaria

Spin in a circle, Spin in a circle. Lose ball. Rinse and repeat.


79: Ashley Fletcher

He jumps further up the list than expected due to his sublime performance at Pride Park in front of the Sky TV cameras; although, in truth, he was pretty bloody awful.

Fulham v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
‘Boro paid £6m for him. SIX million.
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images