Byfield was handed his League debut by Brian Little at Aston Villa in 1997 after working his way through the youth system at Villa Park. Game time was hard to come by and after only seven appearances, Byfield moved on to Walsall in 2000.
Two years in the West Midlands were followed by a move to Rotherham United where he’d spend another two years whilst achieving a goal ratio of almost 1 in 3. A move to the Stadium of Light came in February 2004 in a deal that involved Michael Proctor moving in the opposite direction. The Jamaican international would only stay with Sunderland until the end of the season, scoring 5 goals in 17 appearances in a year which ended in play-off disappointment.
In the next thirteen years, Byfield had spells of varying success with Gillingham, Millwall, Bristol City, Doncaster Rovers, Oldham Athletic, Walsall, Solihull Moors, Tamworth and Redditch United before hanging up his boots in 2017. Darren Byfield is currently manager of Alvechurch in the Southern League Premier Division Central.
Beginning his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers making his debut for the club during the 1996/97 under the stewardship of Mark McGhee. The Welsh central midfielder would eventually make over 150 appearances for Wolves over the next seven years before leaving for Portsmouth on a free transfer in 2002.
Robinson would spend an unhappy two years on the south coast moving out on loan to five different clubs in the form of Sheffield Wednesday, Walsall, Rotherham United, Sheffield United and Sunderland. It would be Mick McCarthy’s Sunderland who finally made the move permanent in 2004.
He would make 40 League appearances as Sunderland won the Championship and returned to the Premier League in 2005. This step up reduced Robinson’s first team appearances where a move to Norwich City quickly followed. Spells in the US with Toronto FC and New York Red Bulls were squeezed in before retiring in 2011 from a career that also yielded 52 caps for Wales.
Local lad Michael Proctor worked his way through the Sunderland ranks and was handed his debut by Peter Reid in a League Cup 4th round tie at Everton in November 1998 that the Lads would eventually win on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
Proctor would find his chances for first team action hard to come by and had loan moves to Hvidovre, Halifax Town, York City and Bradford City during the next four years. Eventually, after 5 goals in 48 appearances that included scoring the winner for Sunderland against Liverpool and scoring two own goals in five minutes against Charlton Athletic, Proctor left for Rotherham United in a swap deal involving Darren Byfield in 2004.
He would eventually hang up his boots in 2009 after further moves to Hartlepool United and Wrexham.
Mullin was one of Peter Reid’s first signings for Sunderland in the summer of 1995, signing for a tribunal-set £40,000 from Burnley.
After making a handful of appearances during Sunderland’s promotion season in 1995-96, Mullin would go on to make ten Premier League appearances, with the notable contribution of scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory at Roker Park over Manchester United.
Mullin also had the honour of scoring the last ever goal at Roker Park when he scored the only goal in the ‘Farewell to Roker Park’ match against Liverpool.
Initially signed as a striker, Mullin formed into an effective central midfield player and would go on to make 45 appearances for Sunderland before leaving for Burnley in 1999. Two successful years at Turf Moor followed ahead of a move to Yorkshire in the form of Rotherham United. Mullin would stay at Millmoor for five years making almost 200 appearances for the club. Retirement came in 2010 after spells at Tranmere Rovers and Accrington Stanley.
John Mullin is now an U18’s coach at Manchester City.