37 Gav - Gareth Hall
You mention the name Gareth Hall in any pub in Sunderland and you’ll be lucky if you don’t see a glass hurtling towards your head within seconds.
Having spent ten years playing regularly for Chelsea, there was some expectation that Gareth Hall would provide Sunderland with some much-needed stability and top flight experience at the back, but what we got was the total opposite.
He looked totally out of his depth and worse, he was the worst player in a side struggling towards the wrong end of the table. Money, in this case, was not well spent.
I know I’ve already picked a right back but I’m sticking Hall in at right centre half in my side, combining with Donald Love to create perhaps the worst right side in Sunderland history.
38 Malc - Dame N’Doye
N’Doye is another one of my “let down” picks. Big Sam brought him in to help us stay in the premier league as cover for one Jermaine Defoe. Despite him having a scoring record around one every 2-3 games across most of his career, including 5 goals in 12 games for Hull across 2015, he did next to sod all for us.
Allardyce admitted at the time the loan was a “calculated risk” and I would agree vehemently he was another punt that SAFC have taken which has not paid off, with a sad return of 1 goal in 6 games in red and white. Thankfully we stayed up and relegated the Mags that season, but this selection is reflective of yet another hyped up loan player who we hoped would contribute and just didn’t.
Why are we so good at those type of loans? Hopefully the new structure at the club under KLD will mean these nothing signings are a thing of the past.
39 Matty - Arnau
I remember being really excited about this signing as a kid. Sunderland were signing Barcelona Bs’ captain, a player who had played with Lionel Messi.
Unfortunately for everyone on Wearside, Arnau failed to live up to the hype and his straight red card three minutes into his second appearance against Bury set the tone for what can only be described as a pointless three years of being contracted to Sunderland.
The Spaniard was loaned out to Southend and Falkirk, before being released with a grand total of two Sunderland appearances to his name.
I really wonder how much homework Sunderland did before agreeing to this deal.
40 Jack - Greg Halford
Signed on the basis that he played well against us once for Colchester, after doing nothing for Reading in the Premier League.
I presume his specialism involved his height being a personality trait, and otherwise being useless. Apparently, he had the gall to ask Roy Keane why he wasn’t playing, which I presume was met with the derision it deserved.
There was also talk that Reading had employed some sort of hoodwinkery when sanctioning his sale to us, leading to a bust up between Keane and the Reading staff in a 2-1 defeat at the Madejski Stadium. Kevin Dillon remarked after a snarling from Keano “But I’m a Sunderland lad!” - no Sunderland fan would have ever let us sign this fella, so I’m glad Keane told him where to go in his usual style.
Also, he possessed a very long throw but I never saw it as he was potted by Keane after a handful of hapless appearances.
41 Martin - Alan Stubbs
Urgh. Talk about good pros, this fella was the opposite.
Heralded as a Steve Bould like signing for us, this bloke played and acted like he just didn’t want to be here. Released by Everton, he openly admitted to celebrating Tim Cahill’s winner over us (for reference, see my comments on Kelvin Davis) while still a paid member of our squad. Our own player, celebrating us conceding a goal - not just any goal, a last-minute goal that was disastrous to any ambition of staying up.
Another who absolutely took the piss.
42 Phil - Joleon Lescott
In a Sunderland side which was already unfortunate enough to include former Everton has-beens Jack Rodwell, Steven Pienaar, Darren Gibson and Bryan Oviedo, David Moyes decided that he had 6 months left to give another of his former players a final payday for very little output.
Lescott made just two appearances for Sunderland after he had been booted out of a relegated Aston Villa the previous season and had already failed in Athens in the first half of the year.
The fact that Lescott’s only league start came in the final day 5-1 defeat at Chelsea tells you everything you need to know about this clown’s time on Wearside.
43 Phil - Sotirios Kyrgiakos
Alongside Lescott, I’ve gone for another Mersyside reject who hardly played after arriving in January. Former Liverpool defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos played just four games in all competitions in what was, at his time of signing, a pretty in-form team under Martin O’Neill.
Unfortunately for the big Greek, reports from Liverpool fans about our new signing being a liability with the turning circle of a double-decker bus were true and the abiding memory of his time on Wearside is when he started alongside Michael Turner in what must have been the slowest centre-back partnership of all time and the two combined to make Nikica Jelavic look sprightly as we lost 2-0 in the FA Cup quarter-final replay.
44 Martin - Andy Gray
When you talk about the worst players, there are a number of factors you can bring into the mix. This fella was just a downright, god-awful player.
At Premier League level he was way out of his depth, which is not necessarily his fault. But he rarely put in anything approaching a shift, either. In that game against Everton I’ve referred to on multiple occasions in this series now, he was dragged off after 41 minutes.
He wasn’t injured. Just absolutely shite.
He never started for us again.
45 Jack - Benjani
Where to start with this absolute donkey?
Signed on loan by Steve Bruce after a pretty dismal run at Man City and average one previously at Portsmouth. The bloke looked like he couldn’t kick my arse with either foot, never mind contribute at the right end.
This was telling in his only contribution being a flailing miskick that landed at the feet of waiting Darren Bent who did the rest.
Still an assist, I guess.
46 Matty - Nacho Scocco
Does anyone else remember watching YouTube clips of Nacho Scocco and thinking “wow, what a player!”
The Argentinian was one of Gus Poyet’s South American transfers who just failed to settle. He clearly had talent given his excellent goal returns elsewhere, but he never looked comfortable in a Sunderland shirt and failed to start a Premier League match.
Scocco failed to impress in cup matches and did not seem trusted to play 90 minutes - I still believe including him on the bench for the League Cup final over Jozy Altidore was incredibly harsh!
Given the money spent combined with the expectation and his lack of impact, I think Scocco is a very reasonable shout for this team.
47 Malc - Valentin Roberge
Centre back Roberge is another nothing player in the history of SAFC. We signed him in 2013 from Portuguese club Maritimo, while Kevin Ball was in his second stint as our caretaker manager after the rapid exit of Paulo di Canio.
The romantically named Valentin helped Maritimo qualify for the Europa League, so it probably sounded a decent option at the time for Bally.
For us though, he only turned out ten times between 2013 and 2016, and only featured in 13 games in all comps. We loaned him out to Reims in 2014, such was his impressive reputation.
Yes, we got him on a free but what was the point paying the lad three years of top flight wages for that? What a waste of a slot in our squad.
48 Gav - Brett Angell
“He is widely regarded by fans of both Everton and Sunderland as one of the worst players to turn out for both of these clubs, where he failed to reproduce the form he showed in the lower divisions” - Wikipedia
John Fickling paid £600,000 for Brett Angell and it got him a seat on the board.
What a waste of fucking money. Jesus.
Six hundred thousand pounds in 1995 was a lot of money - it still is now, like, but back then you’d spend that amount of money and expect a top player as a result.
Unfortunately for us, Everton had our pants down.
They knew he was a dud and must have seen us coming a mile off.
He plays down the middle of my front three, with Milton Nunez to his left.