Six years ago today, Sunderland completed the free transfer signing of France international full back Anthony Reveillere on a deal until the end of the season.
The 34-year-old versatile defender was brought in to provide cover at right back and left back, a problem area for Sunderland at the time when we had very little in the way of cover.
Having collected twenty caps for his country - making the squads for both the 2010 World Cup, and Euro 2012 - Anthony had enjoyed a glittering career that saw him collect five Ligue 1 titles & two Coupe de France winners’ medals with Lyon, and the Coppa Italia in his one and only season at Napoli.
Speaking about the signing, then-Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said:
We needed someone. We couldn’t find anyone in the Under-21s that was good enough, so we looked at Anthony (Reveillere). He is an experienced player and has played at the highest level. We checked on his fitness levels, and he was okay, but adapting to the pace of the Premier League will take time.
The signing came out of the blue, though having not had a full time deal since he had left the Italian giants in the summer, Reveillere’s fitness clearly wasn’t a problem.
He made the bench two days later as we went down 2-0 to Arsenal at the Stadium of Light, before making his first start in the game down at Crystal Palace - we won 3-1, Fletcher scored twice, and we wore that white and blue third strip for the first and only time - impressing and earning the man of the match award.
He was a mainstay in Sunderland’s team from that point onward, and only dropped out of the side after suffering an injury in the warm up at St James Park in the game we won 1-0 just before Christmas time.
All in all, Reveillere made 17 appearances for Sunderland that season before he decided to leave the club and retire from the game in the summer, aged 34.
Most fans still have fond memories of him, as we often do when a player does well when you least expect it. At the time, nobody really expected him to play all that much, so when he did - and did well - it was pleasing.
It was a shame that he wasn’t asked to stay on for another season. His place in the squad was taken up by DeAndre Yedlin, a loanee from Spurs, who was a threat going forward but nowhere near as accomplished defensively as Reveillere was. Yedlin hardly kicked a ball until after the January transfer window that season, meaning we saw more of Billy Jones than anyone would have liked, and the team struggled initially in those opening months under Dick Advocaat, who eventually left.