Across a career spanning 22 years of professional football, Kelvin Davis has been successful everywhere he has played… except us.
Joining Wimbledon from his first club Luton Town for £600,000 in 1999, Davis would make well over a century of appearances ahead of a free transfer to Ipswich Town in 1999. Here he would enjoy two years in which he would receive the title of Championship Goalkeeper of the Year which would persuade Mick McCarthy to part with £1.25 million in the summer of 2005 to bring him to Wearside.
On paper it looked like a shrewd move but would back fire when Davis failed to display his Championship form during Sunderland’s doomed Premier League campaign of 2005-06. Despite his poor form across the season for Sunderland, Southampton would pay us £2 million to take him to the south coast. Here, he would spend ten years and play almost 300 times for the Saints ending with a testimonial in 2016 after which he would retire from the game.
His path then took him to the position of Football Development Executive at Southampton, moving on the first team coach in 2017 where he’d find himself in temporary charge of the first team after the dismissal of Mark Hughes. Davis currently holds the post of First Team Assistant Coach at Southampton.
Bishop Auckland born Darren Holloway forced his way into the Sunderland first team picture after working his way through the ranks in the first season at the Stadium of Light, making his debut in the Sunderland starting XI in a 2-1 victory away to Stoke City in 1997.
Holloway would go on to make 66 appearances for Sunderland including the play-off final against Charlton Athletic before making way for Chris Makin at half-time. Eventually leaving for Wimbledon in 2000, he would make almost 100 appearances there before having spells at Bradford City, Darlington and Gateshead before retiring.
Holloway is now Assistant Manager to Alun Armstrong at Darlington in the National League North.
A distinguished twenty-one career for the Sunderland-born Harford started at Lincoln City in 1977 before a £180,000 transfer to Newcastle United in 1980. A disappointing year on Tyneside led to quick fire moves to Bristol City and Birmingham City before eventually ending up at Luton Town in 1984.
Harford would spend six successful years at Kenilworth Road, becoming a fans favourite and gaining two international caps for England, before a £450,000 move to the midlands to join Derby County in 1990. This would only last a year until he was on his travels again, this time returning to Luton Town despite interest from Alex Ferguson and Manchester United. Following Luton Town dropping out of top tier, Harford joined Chelsea for the opening season of the new Premier League for a fee of £300,000.
Despite being top scorer for Chelsea, Terry Butcher would take Harford to Sunderland for £250,000 in March 1993 where he would only manage two goals in eleven appearances. His last move would be to Wimbledon via Coventry City in 1994 making 60 appearances before retiring in 1998.
Since retiring from the playing side, Harford has held many positions at various clubs including Director of Football, Coach and Manager. Last season saw him lead Luton Town to promotion the Championship.
Despite being from the north-east, John Kay found his route into football via being an apprentice at Arsenal where he would make 14 appearances after making his debut in 1983. This was quickly followed by a free transfer to the Crazy Gang at Wimbledon until Denis Smith brought him back home in 1987 ahead of our demolition of Division Three.
Making appearances in Divisions One, Two and Three for Sunderland he did not give less than 100% in any of his 239 appearances for the lads and playing against him would strike fear in any winger he faced during his career with his strong tackling and even stronger wit.
His final appearance for Sunderland saw Kay break his leg in a home victory over Birmingham City and as he was stretchered off… rowed himself off the pitch - what a way to end a career at Sunderland.