GK - Márton Fülöp
After turning out for Coventry on 31 occasions on loan from Spurs in 2005, Márton Fülöp signed for Sunderland in a deal that was one of the few occasions we came out on top when Ben Alnwick moved in the opposite direction in 2006.
The Hungarian international was always a dependable goalkeeper when called upon, and he would make 50 appearances for Sunderland until he signed for Ipswich Town in 2010.
In 2015 he tragically died after a battle with cancer at the age of 32.
DEF - George Burley
Twelve years man and boy at Ipswich Town saw Burley make over 500 appearances before leaving to join Lawrie McMenemy’s Dads Army XI at Sunderland in 1985. Denis Smith would quickly realise Burley’s legs were gone when he joined in 1987, and quickly shipped him out to Gillingham after making 66 appearances for the lads.
After spells at Motherwell, Ayr United, Falkirk, Motherwell and Colchester United he would hang up his boots in 1994 and move into a successful management career spanning almost twenty years that included becoming manager of the Scottish national team.
DEF - Titus Bramble
Tipped for great things after making his breakthrough at Ipswich Town in 1998, Bramble would eventually join Bobby Robson’s Newcastle United in 2002 for £6 million.
Five years and over one hundred appearances later, Steve Bruce would take Bramble on a free transfer at Wigan Athletic before leaving for Sunderland and taking Bramble to Wearside from Wigan in a £1 million move in 2010. He would retire after three years and fifty appearances for the Lads.
DEF - Danny Collins
One of the many bargains Mick McCarthy picked up for Sunderland, signing for £140,000 from Chester City in 2004. Collins would make 163 appearances over five years whilst twice winning the fans player of the year award.
He would leave for Stoke Cityin 2009 for an initial £2.75 million, where in a three year stint would have periods on loan to Ipswich Town and West Ham United. Collins was released at the end of last season from Grimsby Town who he joined via Nottingham Forest and Rotherham United.
DEF - Jack Colback
After coming through the academy at Sunderland, Colback would spend two years on loan to Ipswich Town between 2009 & 2011 before making the starting XI more frequently at Sunderland.
He jumped at the chance of joining the mags when he had the chance in 2014 where his best moment was as a result of being clattered by Lee Cattermole at the Stadium of Light.
MID - Carlos Edwards
Right winger, scorer of great goals, all round good fella, Edwards was signed by Roy Keane in the January transfer window of 2007 whilst on our magic carpet ride for £1.5 million. He would join Ipswich in 2009 in the same deal that saw Grant Leadbitter move to Suffolk for a combined fee of £4 million after 56 games for Sunderland.
Five years at Portman Road followed that included a player of the season award in 2012 as well as almost two hundred appearances. Edwards would return to his native Trinidad & Tobago after a stint with Millwall before hanging up his boots.
MID - Tommy Miller
It all seemed to make sense when Tommy Miller arrived at Sunderland via Ipswich Town on a free transfer in 2005. After starting out at Hartlepool United his career really took off at Ipswich Town to the extent that Sunderland beat off competition from Celtic and Leeds United for his services.
It all went very wrong for Sunderland and Miller in the Premier League and the following season would see Roy Keane ship him back to Portman Road on a free transfer. Spells at Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield Town, Swindon Town, Bury, Hartlepool United and Halifax Town would follow before retirement. Now Assistant Manager at Spennymoor Town.
MID - Alan Quinn
Through my extensive experience on Championship Manager 01/02 I thought this was a great loan signing by Mick McCarthy from Sheffield Wednesday in 2003… it wasn’t. He made six appearances in the starting XI for Sunderland and was substituted in five of those.
He’d eventually leave Wednesday a year later to sign for steel City rivals Sheffield United on a free transfer and spent a successful four years there, becoming the first player to score for both teams in the Sheffield derby, before moving on to Ipswich Town in 2008. He retired from the professional game in 2011.
FWD - Darren Bent
Bent never looked back after his debut for Ipswich in 2001 against Helsingborg in the UEFA Cup, becoming a prolific scorer for the Tractor Boys before signing for Charlton Athletic for £2.5million in June 2005, scoring twice on his debut against Sunderland.
Two years later, the reward for a goal ratio of almost a goal every other game would be a £16.5million move to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2007. He would spend two years in North London finishing with 18 goals in 60 Premier League games before moving north to Wearside.
Steve Bruce signed 25-year-old Darren Bent for an initial £10million that would eventually rise to £16.5million with add-ons. After scoring the winner on his debut against Bolton Wanderers, Darren Bent would end up scoring 25 goals in 40 appearances during 2009-10.
This good form continued into 2010-11 with 11 goals in 23 appearances before controversially (let’s remember the good times) moving to Aston Villa for an initial £18million that doubtfully got anywhere near the reported potential of £24million with add-ons.
Bent had loan spells at Fulham, Brighton and Hove Albion and Derby County before making the move to Derby permanent in 2015. Three years with the Rams followed before a loan spell with Burton Albion in 2018 that would include putting us out of our misery when he scored in the game that sealed our demotion to League One.
Darren Bent has not signed for another club since his release from Derby County last summer and looks to have ended a successful career that also included four goals for England in thirteen appearances.
FWD – Eric Gates
Despite the fact Eric Lazenby Gates was born in Ferryhill, he managed to slip through the net of the north-east teams and was picked up by Bobby Robson’s vast scouting network setup at Ipswich Town in the 70’s. He’d spend twelve years in Suffolk making almost 350 appearances, winning the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and collected two caps for England...not bad.
He would join Lawrie McMenemy’s Sunderland for £150,000 in 1985, but his time on Wearside would finally take off when Denis Smith paired him with Marco Gabbiadini. They would eventually take Sunderland to the First Division via a play-off victory against the mags and then the back door after defeat to Swindon Town at Wembley, this would be Gates’ final game for Sunderland.
He retired after a brief spell at Carlisle United a year later - when on the bench during a cold midweek away game was told to warm up by the manager with only a few minutes remaining in the game…he followed the orders exactly to the letter and promptly ran down the tunnel and into a nice hot bath.
FWD - Marcus Stewart
Bristol-born Marcus Stewart started his career at Bristol Rovers as a 19-year-old. He would achieve 207 appearances scoring 79 goals between 1991 and 1995 ahead of a move to join ex-Sunderland goalkeeper Tony Norman at Huddersfield Town in 1995, signing for a club record £1.2 million. Solid performances for the Terriers would see him move to Ipswich Town in February 2000 for £2.5 million.
Marcus Stewart would then go on to have a memorable year during 2000/01, Ipswich would finish 5th in the Premier League qualifying for what was then the UEFA cup, and Stewart would score 21 goals in all competitions.
A year later Ipswich Town were relegated and he signed for the lads for a reported £3.25 million, going on to score 53 goals in 119 games between 2002 and 2005.
After spells at Bristol City, Preston North End, Yeovil Town and Exeter City he hung up his boots in the summer of 2011 immediately moving into a first team coach roles at Exeter City and Bristol Rovers.
SUB - Jon Stead
Our major signing, for £1.8 million from Blackburn Rovers, ahead of our capitulation in the Premier League during 2005-06 that would see Sunderland relegated with 15 points.
He would take 11 months to score is first goal for Sunderland and only managed one more in a torrid time for the player and those who had to watch him.
His time at Ipswich Town came between 2008 and 2010 scoring 18 in 63 League appearances.
SUB - Stern John
One of the least notable signings of Roy Keane’s time on Wearside but by no means least effective.
Stern John signed for Sunderland for an undisclosed fee during the 2007 January transfer window after three successful years at Coventry City.
Chipping in with the odd important goal and being an effective option as substitute to see games out, John was that something different we needed to see us over the line. He would also be part of the deal that brought Kenwyne Jones to Sunderland from Southampton the following season. He qualifies through a month on loan to Ipswich Town in 2009 where he scored once in seven games.