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Soccer - Endsleigh League Division One - Peterborough United v Sunderland - London Road

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On This Day (14 July 1994): After signing one full back, Sunderland set sights on another!

Mick Buxton was trying to bring reinforcements in after guiding the lads to safety.

Photo by Paul Marriott/EMPICS via Getty Images

Mick Buxton had done a decent job in his eight months or so as Sunderland boss. After taking over from the much-maligned Terry Butcher, whose side languished in 22nd place in the second tier – after narrowly avoiding relegation the season before – he provided a steady hand as he steered what was a decent squad to 12th place.

In the end, while no one had ever thought we could mount a promotion challenge following an awful first few months of the season, we’d only been six points off a play-off spot, and as the dust settled, pre-season optimism began to kick in, with supporters eager to see what Buxton – with a few reinforcements – could produce.

Those reinforcements were slow to come, however. After backing Terry Butcher with serious money the summer before, Bob Murray was understandably reticent to do the same 12 months later – believing the squad Butcher had assembled had enough about it to have a decent campaign.

SUNDERLAND V STOKE
Kubicki went on to play 150 games at the club, and infamously was dropped for Gareth Hall when on the verge of breaking the club record for consecutive appearances

On this day 29 years ago, full-back Dariusz Kubicki made his move to Roker permanent after initially joining from Villa on a three-month loan.

Buxton said:

The crowd like him. I just hope he can carry on doing what he did last season, and even improve on that. I’m surprised other clubs have not had a nibble.

After spending the season without a recognised left back, the manager had his sights set on solving that problematic position, and had earmarked Bristol City defender Martin Scott as the player he wanted.

A bid of £500,000 had been rejected by the Robins, and Buxton continued:

I made a pretty good offer but was told the player was not for sale. But things change in football and I have not written off the deal altogether. It’s certainly not dead.

Mickey Gray prefers to play in midfield and Richard Ord is really a centre-back. I feel Scott is the sort of player who would improve the club.

Scott was 26 at the time and had built up a good reputation as a dependable full-back with an eye for goal, first at Rotherham, and then at Bristol City, who he joined in 1990.

Of course, a move to Roker would happen for Scott, but not until a few months later.

Sunderland opened the season with a 0-0 draw at Bristol City – with Scott in the home team’s lineup – and by the time the reverse fixture came around just before Christmas, we were sitting in 16th position.

Soccer - Sunderland v Leicester City
Scotty could look after himself, too
Photo by Mike Egerton/EMPICS via Getty Images

Scott played for City in that game too – we won 2-0 thanks to a Lee Howey brace, and it turned out to be his last game for Bristol, as he pretty much stayed on Wearside after the game to sign for the lads.

City had had a change of manager – Joe Jordan replacing Russell Osman – and both Jordan and Buxton were keen to inject some new blood into their struggling teams. Gary Owers signed off to make the reverse journey (plus £350,000) after 320 games for the club; a somewhat sad end to a Sunderland career that promised so much.

Buxton didn’t get to see too much of his new signing in action. Three months later he was replaced by Peter Reid, who, of course, managed to keep us up, once again by the skin of our teeth – sending Owers’ Bristol City down to the third tier in the process.

Scott went on to have a good career at Sunderland and was an important part of the team that got promoted the following season, while Owers, who was also 26 at the time of the exchange deal, played around 130 games for Bristol and more than 150 for Notts County before finishing his playing days with Forest Green and Bath City.

Scotty was a good full-back and filled a position that had generally been a problem position for the best part of a decade.

However, with Mickey Gray deciding he actually didn’t mind playing full-back a couple of years later, we were in the rare position of having two very good left-backs to choose from.

And that was a definite luxury.

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