Sunderland: The Black Cats all-time top five forwards
The rookie is on international duty with his country and will miss the chance to impress against two of the other three teams in the tournament, Seongnam, Groningen and Hamburg. Dong-Won will be hoping to properly adjust to the rigorous demands of the Premier League and build on last season’s goal against Chelsea and the unforgettable match-winner against Manchester City.
Staying on the subject of strikers, this week’s article will cover the five greatest strikers (in my opinion) to have ever donned the famous red and white stripes.
5: Niall Quinn
Many of you will be wondering why ‘Big Quinny’ only wound up number five on the list, but it’s the sheer number of goals the other four scored that keeps the Irishman at number five.
There’s no denying the impact Quinn had on the club, from his arrival from Manchester City in 1996 to his recent departure as chairman of the Black Cats, the man who even had a song dedicated to him has arguably taken the club to new heights. Yes, ‘Niall Quinn’s Disco Pants’ was a major talking point, but so were the prolific striker’s 61 goals in 203 appearances as he helped take the club upto the Premier League in the 98/99 season, going on to form a deadly partnership with another top five entrant, Kevin Phillips.
After a period of turmoil, Quinn and his Drumaville Consortium bought a controlling stake in the club with Quinn taking over the reigns as manager until Roy Keane was appointed in August 2006. After several years back in the top tier of English football, Quinn stepped-down as chairman, handing over full control to Texas billionaire Ellis Short. Quinny may be gone but he’s certainly not forgotten and as the song goes, “Niall Quinn’s disco pants are the best” and he’s fifth best in my list.
4: Don Goodman
Some may argue a surprise inclusion in this list, but at the time of Goodman’s arrival from West Brom in December 1991 he was only the seventh black player to ever play for the club, and became their most expensive at £900,000. At a time when racism was still rife on the terraces, Goodman earned the respect of the Roker faithful with his dedication to the cause and commitment, along with an impressive return on his price tag with 47 goals in 133 games. The terrier-like hitman went on to net the club a profit when he moved to Wolves for £1.3m in 1994.
3: Brian Clough
Perhaps the most controversial man to ever grace a football club, Cloughie was quite the potent striker in the mid-60s, netting an incredible 251 goals in 274 games between his only two clubs, hometown Middlesbrough and their north-east neighbours before a knee injury curtailed his career in 1964.
It’s been said that Clough’s traits as a strict disciplinarian came from his manager at Sunderland, Alan Brown. Brown once scolded the then-26 year old for talking to a friend during a training session. The greatest manager never to take charge of England went on to incorporate some of Brown’s mannerisms in his 28-year managerial career, with some of his highlights including questioning the role of the Italians in the Second World War after a 3-1 loss to Juventus in Turin, calling Poland goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski 'a clown' after his heroics against England in a World Cup qualifier and branding the Leeds United team 'dirty cheats' mere days after being appointed manager.
Few will have heard about Buchan, who etched his name in the record books as Sunderland’s highest ever league goalscorer, amassing an incredible 209 goals in 370 games, scoring regularly even at the age of 36, including 16 in his last season playing for Arsenal.
Many argue that he would have scored more, had there not been a stoppage in play for the First World War; Buchan served as a Temporary Second Lieutenant and was awarded the Military Model, before returning to Sunderland where he continued being the club’s top scorer until 1924 when he sealed a surprise £4,000 move to Arsenal at the age of 34.
1: Kevin Phillips
No-one has had a greater impact on Sunderland Football Club than “Super Kev” whose 113 goals in 208 games between 1997 and 2003 earned him cult status on Wearside and saw the club reach their highest ever position in the Premier League, finishing 7th consecutively in 2000 and 2001.
After netting 60 goals in his first two seasons in the Championship and earning a call-up to the England squad few predicted that Phillips would carry-on his exploits in the top flight, but his doubters were answered by October in the club's first season back in the Premier League when he was awarded the Player of the Month award and, after bagging 30 goals, won the prestigious European Golden Boot award, subsequently becoming the first ever Englishman to do so.
At an average of more than one goal every two matches, Phillips' penchant for both spectacular and scrappy goals, as well as his ability to play off ‘big-man’ Niall Quinn made him the perfect all-round centre forward, an incredible feat for someone who started his professional career at the age of 21, while he was still working in a grocery store.
Super Kev went on to score goals at Southampton, Aston Villa and Birmingham City, before signing with Blackpool where he has scored 17 goals in 40 games and shows no signs of slowing down, even at the ripe old age of 38.
Phillips scored goals at a time when Sunderland needed to prove they belonged in the top flight, and with goals in wins over Chelsea and bitter rivals Newcastle, the Black Cats did just that, which is why the number one all time greatest ever Sunderland striker goes to Kevin “Super Kev” Phillips.
Well that's my top five. Do you agree or disagree? Whatever your view we'd love to hear from you.