Sunderland AFC has always been unpredictable – from their glory days as the dominant force in English football at the dawn of the 20th century, to their fall into relegation in the mid-years, to their rise like a phoenix as FA Cup winners in 1973, to their current dip – their fans have seen it all.
Needless, there have been heroes, characters, fallen angels who won their redemption later, and superstars in a club with such a rich past. We assemble here the All-time Sunderland Greatest XI for you to enjoy.
Using the 4-3-3 formation, here is the greatest Sunderland XI of all time.
GK: Jimmy Montgomery [1961-77] [627 appearances]
Jimmy is famous for his longevity with the all-time most number of caps for the club. But why he really makes it to this list is the amazing success that went along with his longevity. Jimmy achieved a lot with Sunderland, with his moment of crowning glory being the 1973 FA Cup Final. His twin saves against Trevor Cherry and Peter Lorimer won the Cup for the Wearsiders that day.
RB: Dick Malone [1970-77] [282 appearances]
Dick was the classical full-back with limitless energy and spirit. He was always there to hold the Black Cats’ rear guard during his heyday, and his performance in the 1973 FA Cup final makes him a Sunderland legend. He single-handedly marked Eddie Gray into substitution to nullify Leeds’ biggest weapon.
CB: Charlie Hurley [1957-69] [401 appearances]
Many regard Charlie as Sunderland’s G.O.A.T. player. Popular among his fans as “the King”, Charlie was voted as the club’s “best player of the century”. Surprisingly, he began poorly at Sunderland, and the club got relegated in his debut season. However, he won his redemption by captaining the Black Cats back into promotion in 1964.
CB: David Watson [1970-75][212 appearances]
David was the air marshall in the Sunderland defence, negating any aerial threats. He had a big heart and was always game to leap up and head away any dangers. It is a pity that Sunderland were playing in the second division for most of the time David was with them. However, he enjoyed his moment of glory by being a vital cog in their defence in the 1973 winning FA Cup campaign.
LB: Len Ashurst [1958-1970] [458 appearances]
Len was the typical mean and mighty left-back with fierce tackling skills. He is hailed as one of the greatest defenders to guard the Sunderland bastion ever. He had an unending supply of energy, always nagging away at the forwards for their worst nightmare. Len Ashurst was a key player when the Black Cats got promoted in 1964 and deserves him place among the Greatest Sunderland XI of all time.