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On This Day (24 June 1995): Chris Waddle rejects move to Sunderland!

Chris Waddle dismisses a move to Sunderland as Peter Reid looks for a big-name signing during his first summer as manager at Roker Park.

Photo by Mark Leech/Getty Images

On this day 26 years ago Peter Reid was going to work in his attempt to turn a squad that had just survived relegation from the Endsleigh League Division One, to become potential promotion contenders.

The 39-year-old former England midfielder had just successfully steered Sunderland to survival after taking over from Mick Buxton with seven games remaining, and with survival assured he signed a two-year contract with the club and immediately went to work.

He moved very quickly to secure the services of Paul Bracewell as his player/assistant manager and also added Bobby Saxton to his coaching staff within just a few weeks of the close of the season.

Soccer - Endsleigh League Division One - Sunderland v Leicester City - Roker Park
Paul Bracewell on the opening day of the season at Roker Park against Leicester City after being brought back to Sunderland for a third time by Peter Reid in June 1995
Photo by Neal Simpson/EMPICS via Getty Images

Being the first summer in charge for Reid and given the performance of the squad the previous year, the rumour mill was in full flow and the main one that seemed to keep cropping up was the link with Sheffield Wednesday’s Chris Waddle.

It was no secret that the then 34-year-old grew up a Sunderland fan and was a regular at Roker Park, as well as having trials that unfortunately for Sunderland went nowhere, and with only a year of his contract remaining at Hillsborough it was clear Reid would be interested.

However, on this day in 1995 it looked increasingly unlikely that the ex-England winger would be coming to Roker. It was understood as Waddle was on holiday that the news was that he was ready to not only turn down a move back to the North-East but was also going to turn down a new contract that would have made him player-coach under David Pleat at Wednesday.

Despite the rumours which also included Stephen Pears on a free transfer from Middlesbrough, Paul Walsh from Manchester City, David Preece from Luton and Rick Holden who had been released by Oldham, Peter Reid was already under pressure to strengthen the squad from the fans.

The Supporters Action For Change group had issued a statement to confirm the support for the manager and to make sure he got the support he needed from the board.

To be given a fair chance to succeed, it is essential Peter Reid is given full moral and financial backing by the board. We acknowledge the recent positive moves by the club, but we are still a long way from achieving our ambition of top flight football. The group welcomes and supports Peter Reid as manager.

He has the fighting spirit and ‘will to win’ needed to spur a revival. Our group hope the club will enter the vital, pre-season transfer market, demonstrating real ambition to succeed. We view this coming season as possibly the most significant in Sunderland’s long history. It could very well be make or break as far as the majority of the fans are concerned.

Manchester City FC V Nottingham Forest 1994
Paul Walsh was linked with Sunderland in the summer of 1995
Photo by Mark Leech/Getty Images

Waddle would eventually sign for Sunderland in on transfer deadline day in March 1997 as a 36-year-old and would produce a never to be forgotten moment in the final League game at Roker Park against Everton by smashing a free-kick into the top corner from the edge of the box.

In other news on this day - Glenn Hoddle was celebrating the double capture of Mark Hughes for £1.5 million from Manchester United and Ruud Gullit on a free transfer. Gullit, who was 32-years-old, signed from Sampdoria and was reported to have signed a contract worth £1.6 million over two years and was arguably the signing that changed the face of the Premier League in terms of attracting the best talent across Europe.


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