Will Buckley started his career at Rochdale where he signed in 2006 after being released by Oldham Athletic. After making his debut in 2008, Buckley began to see his stock rise over the next two years. In 2010, after making 59 appearances at Spotland, he took a chance to move to Championship side Watford for a fee of £300,000.
Buckley would win young player of the year in his first full season at Watford, which would be enough to convince Brighton and Hove Albion to make him their then-record signing for £1 million.
Three successful years followed on the south coast until he followed Gus Poyet, who he had played under at the Seagulls, up to Wearside for a reported fee of £2.5million in August 2014.
It’s fair to say he never found his feet at Sunderland, and although he would stay for three years, he made as many appearances for clubs including Leeds United, Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday on loan as he did for Sunderland in that time.
Will Buckley now plays for Bolton Wanderers after signing in 2017.
Winger Craig Lynch signed professional terms with Sunderland in the summer of 2010 and made his first team debut in April 2011.
Steve Bruce brought Lynch off the bench to replace Jordan Henderson for the last fifteen minutes in a 0-3 home defeat to Fulham.
A loan spell at Hartlepool United followed in 2012 before leaving permanently in 2014 for Rochdale, having made one more substitute appearance for Sunderland.
He made one appearance for the Dale during 2013-14 before moving onto Spennymoor and Blyth Spartans. Craig Lynch resigned as manager of Seaham Red Star in May 2018.
Born in Canvey Island, Billy Knott joined the Academy of Light in 2011 as a 19-year-old after being released by Chelsea.
He would spend three years at Sunderland making only one appearance for the Black Cats. Loan spells at AFC Wimbledon, Wycombe Wanderers, Woking in the Conference, and Port Vale gave Knott his introduction to professional football.
His debut for Sunderland came in an end of season game at White Hart Lane, where Paolo Di Canio threw him on as substitute for James McClean for the last twenty minutes in a 1-0 defeat.
After Sunderland, Knott moved to Bradford making 79 appearances over two seasons before a move to Gillingham after release from his contract at The Bantams.
This was followed by spells at Lincoln and Rochdale, where he started just once and made three appearances from the bench in January 2018, before signing for Concord Rangers in the summer of 2018.
Manchester-born Butler began his professional career at Rochdale in 1991 where, after conceding a penalty within minutes of his debut, he would end up playing over 150 games for the Dale.
After five years at Rochdale he moved down the road to Bury for a fee of £100,000 in 1996. Butler’s impressive two years with the Shakers caught the eye of Peter Reid who shelled out £1 million to bring him to Wearside.
Sunderland and Butler stormed their way to the First Division championship in his first full season, breaking a number of records along the way.
Butler’s part in this can be summarised in the fact he joined Lee Clark, Michael Gray, Allan Johnston and Niall Quinn in the PFA Football League First Division Team of the Year.
Despite Sunderland strengthening at the back with the likes of Steve Bould, Butler would end the 1999-00 season with 37 Premier League appearances and also a first cap for the Republic of Ireland to his name.
The following season would see him fall down the pecking order at Sunderland and after a successful loan spell, Butler signed for Wolverhampton Wanderers for £1 million in 2001. Three years at Molineux was followed by three years at Leeds United, making over one hundred appearances with both clubs.
After a spell at MK Dons, Paul Butler hung up his boots after two years at Chester City in 2009.