Sunderland A.F.C.

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Template:Football club infobox Sunderland Association Football Club is a football club based in Sunderland, on Wearside in the North-East of England. They will return to the FA Premier League for the 2005/2006 season as winners of the Football League Championship.

For most of the late 1990s, under the management of Peter Reid, they were in the FA Premier League; however, after a dreadful run of results they finished bottom of the league in 2002-2003 (with a record-low 19 points) and were relegated to the Football League First Division (now called the Football League Championship). During the 2002-2003 season Sunderland appointed two new managers in quick succession — Howard Wilkinson and, after Wilkinson's disastrous spell in charge, Mick McCarthy. While McCarthy led the club to ten consecutive Premiership defeats, he largely escaped criticism for the club's relegation having inherited a team low in morale. 2003-2004 saw the club shed its highest earning players—including post-war top scorer Kevin Phillips and USA international captain Claudio Reyna—as they struggled to cope with the financial constraints of Division One. McCarthy restored the team spirit that had been sadly lacking over the previous season and steered the club to a 3rd placed finish. Only a disputed injury-time goal against Crystal Palace forced them into a penalty shootout, which they lost, and prevented Sunderland from reaching the playoff final.

They are known as the 'Black Cats'; formerly they were the 'Rokermen' after Roker Park, which was their stadium from 1898 until 1997 or the 'Bank of England club' due to their prodigious spending on players in the first half of the 20th century. They now play in the newly built Stadium of Light. They have been the English champions six times, but the last time was 1936. They have also won the FA Cup twice, most famously as a Second Division club in 1973, when they beat the then-mighty Leeds United.

Sunderland's traditional rivals are Newcastle United.



Sunderland A.F.C. was founded in 1879 under the name of 'Sunderland & District Teachers Association'. The team soon changed its name to Sunderland Association Football Club and began to recruit players who were not teachers. S.A.F.C. turned professional in 1885, the same year they recruited a number of Scotsmen, their first international players.

In 1887 the club was split in two due to the influx of paid professional players pushing the local men out of the first team. In protest over this many of the best local players left the club and formed their own team, Sunderland Albion FC. A brief rivalry was begun, peaking in 1890 when The Football League promised admission for just one of the teams. A deciding playoff was held; SAFC won. Sunderland Albion remained an amateur club, gradually fading into obscurity.

In the early years of The Football League SAFC were the most northerly top-flight team and often had to pay opposing teams' travel expenses. Over six seasons they lost only one home game and became the first side to win the league three times.

From 1886-98 SAFC's home was Newcastle Road, a ground whose name has been looked upon with much irony as the team's local rival is Newcastle United F.C. In 1898, the Club moved to what would become their long-standing home, Roker Park.

In 1913 Sunderland narrowly missed out on becoming one of the first clubs to win the double when they were beaten by Aston Villa — their major rivals for silverware at the time — in the final of the FA Cup.

When the League restarted after World War II, Sunderland's fortunes took a turn for the worse; in 1958 they were relegated from Division One for the first time. Sunderland's 68 unbroken years in the top league remained a record until surpassed by Arsenal F.C. In the following years they had several spells in the top flight, such as from 1964-70; however, they have yet to permanently regain their place in the foremost level of English football.

1986-87 was the worst season in the history of SAFC, when they were relegated to the Third Division for the first time. Dennis Smith was appointed as a new manager and in the following season led Sunderland to their worst-ever league position as champions of Division 3.

In 1990 Sunderland lost in the Second Division playoff final against Swindon Town. They still won promotion to the First Division, however, pursuant to discoveries regarding Swindon's financial irregularities. In 1992 the FA Premier League was formed and Sunderland remained in the First Division, having to wait until 1996 to play a Premiership match. This first foray in the Premiership, however, ended in tears; Coventry forced Sunderland into the relegation zone on the last day of the season, and the team returned to Division One.

1997 was a year of big changes. SAFC moved to their current home at the Stadium of Light after 99 years at Roker Park and changed their club crest from a traditional shield-shaped one to a logo more resembling a coat of arms.

Sunderland's first season in their new home yet again involved them being pipped to the post, as they finished third in a tougher-than-usual Division One. The playoff final against Charlton Athletic was to prove dispiriting; after dominating much the match, Sunderland lost in a tense penalty shoot-out. As one consolation for the year, Kevin Phillips had scored a club-best 35 league goals in a single season.

The following season saw little challenge, and Sunderland became Division One champions, making away with a record 105 points.

In the 1999-2000 season, Sunderland finished seventh in the Premiership — their highest finish since 4th place in 1955. Again the team was pipped at the post on the last day of the season, this time missing out on a place in European competition. During the season Phillips forged an effective striking partnership with Niall Quinn and the club had the consolation of finishing above arch rivals Newcastle.

The next season followed in a similar vein with a seventh place finish — narrowly missing out on Europe — and saw Kevin Phillips becoming the third Sunderland player since World War II to score 100 goals. Stadium of Light was expanded from a capacity of 42,000 to 48,300.

2001-02 was disappointing. Sunderland struggled in mid-table for much of the time, and fretted on the edge of relegation during the last days of the season.

The next season showed no signs of recovery, and so then-manager Peter Reid was sacked in October 2002 after nearly eight years with the Club. He was replaced by Howard Wilkinson, who proved greatly ineffective, winning just 2 out of 20 games and dragging Sunderland into the relegation struggle. In March 2003 the former Republic of Ireland national coach Mick McCarthy was appointed as a new manager. However the team was suffering from terrible moral problems due to the loss of two managers in one season and their losing streak meant McCarthy's appointment was too late to avoid relegation.

In the meantime, successful Sunderland Premiership players like Kevin Phillips and Thomas Sorensen had come to the attention of the country and so to tackle debt problems Sunderland faced a Premiership relegation sell off.

Given the recent history, many suggested Sunderland would be fighting against relegation from the first division in the 2003-04 season. However things did not go as badly as expected; McCarthy managed to rebuild a team spirit and brought the club to a third place finish. Luck was not on Sunderland's side during the playoff semifinal however, and they again lost a penalty shoot out, leaving the club in the first division for another season. In this season Sunderland reached the semifinals of the F.A. Cup, their best position in eleven years.

In the 2004-05 season, Sunderland were one of the favourites to win the newly formed Football League Championship and secured automatic promotion to the Premier League on April 23, 2005, along with the Championship title six days later.

Past Sunderland players of note


Old division 1 winners:

1891/1892 1892/1893 1894/1895 1901/1902 1912/1913 1935/1936

Old division 1 runners up:

1893/1894 1897/1898 1900/1901 1922/1923 1934/1935

Football League Championship winners


New division 1 winners:

1995/1996 1998/1999

Old division 2 winners:


Old division 2 runners up:


Old division 3 winners:


FA Cup winners:

1936/1937 1972/1973

FA Cup runners up:

1912/1912 1941/1942 1991/1992

League Cup runners up:


Charity Shield winners:

1901/1902 1936/1937

Charity Shield runners up:


Current squad


30. Ben Alnwick English
TBD. Kelvin Davis English
40. Thomas Myhre Norwegian
1. Mart Poom Estonian


33. Julio Arca Argentinian
5. Gary Breen Irish
6. Steven Caldwell Scottish
17. Neill Collins Scottish
39. Danny Collins Welsh
3. George McCartney Northern Irish
TBD. Nyron Nosworthy English
2. Stephen Wright English


25. Colin Healy Irish
7. Liam Lawrence English
TBD. Tommy Miller Scottish
21. Matt Piper English
4. Carl Robinson Welsh
15. Sean Thornton Irish
11. Andy Welsh Scottish
14. Dean Whitehead English
8. Jeff Whitley Northern Irish


20. Chris Brown English
19. Stephen Elliott Irish
9. Kevin Kyle Scottish
TBD Daryl Murphy Irish
TBD Jonathan Stead English

External links

Template:FA Premier League teamlist
FA Premier League seasons

1992-93 | 1993-94 | 1994-95 | 1995-96 | 1996-97 | 1997-98 | 1998-99
1999-00 | 2000-01 | 2001-02 | 2002-03 | 2003-04 | 2004-05 | 2005-06 edit (

Football in England

League competitions

The FA

Cup competitions

FA Premier League FA Cup
The Football League (Champ, 1, 2) England
League Cup
Football Conference (Nat, N, S) FA Community Shield
Northern Premier League (Prem, 1) (women) Football League Trophy
Southern League (Prem, 1W, 1E) List of
FA Trophy
Isthmian League (Prem, 1, 2) FA Vase
English football league system Records FA NLS Cup

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