Sunderland: Mannone (Westwood 46); Gardner, O’Shea (Brown 46), Roberge, Colback; Larsson (Mandron 70), N’Diaye (Vaughan 46), Cabral (Ba 46), Johnson (Karlsson 46); Sessegnon (Graham 46), Ji (Altidore 46).
It was the day after Sunderland had signed American POWERHOUSE Jozy Altidore, and what better way to announce his arrival than by throwing around a team made up of Paolo Di Canio’s mates?
Well, that’s exactly what happened on this day eight years ago when the crazy bastard took his side to an intense training camp in Lake Garda in preparation for the 2013/4 Premier League season.
Altidore joined his new teammates at their pre-season base following his arrival from AZ Alkmaar for $13m, and took to the field along with fellow new-boys El Hadji Ba, David Moberg-Karlsson, Valentin Roberge, Cabral and Vito Manone as they romped to victory in the searing Mediterranean heat.
Benin international Stephané Sessegnon - partnered up top by Ji Dong Won - scored the first five goals inside the opening 35 minutes as the Lads made a bunch of jobbers look rather silly in what was clearly a pointless game of football.
Ji even got himself a goal before the break, as did Seb Larsson - ensuring that Di Canio’s side went into the half-time break seven goals up.
Seven changes were made at the break, and the goals continued to come.
David Moberg Karlsson, Valentin Roberge and Altidore all notched on their Sunderland debuts in the second half to take the Lads into double figures, before the local XI got one back after Keiren Westwood conceded a penalty.
Those in attendance can lay a claim to having seen a Danny Graham goal - not even he could fail to notch against a pub team. Youngster Mikael Mandron got the 12th, before Moberg-Karlsson got his second and Sunderland’s final goal of the afternoon to round off proceedings.
And... well, that’s about all we know about the game.
There were no fans in attendance - not officially, anyways - and there’s no record of who we played against.
We do know that Di Canio absolutely beasted the players on that training camp, and the game was likely one of about ten training sessions that his side endured that day.
In a bizarre turn of circumstances, Sunderland barely played any proper pre-season games that summer. We headed off to Hong Kong for a Premier League Trophy tournament that also featured Spurs and Man City, and we managed last-minute to slot in a game in Denmark against FC Midtjylland, but everything felt a bit... strange.
Some may say, it was a sign of things to come...