In Both Camps, Sunderland

The Black Cats does have a number of players who have also been at Leicester City. They have also experienced a bit of up’s and down’s over the years. At the moment Sunderland are to be found in the third tier or if you like, League One.

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Among the recent signings at Leicester City, Martyn Waghorn comes to mind, joining the club from Sunderland for a fee of £3million after spending a season on loan, impressing Nigel Pearson in a way that made him certain to make the move permanent. Waghorn made 103 league appearances for Leicester City and scored 20 goals, before moving on to other adventures. Today at Derby County, and earlier at Wigan Athletic, Ipswich Town and up in Scotland and Glasgow with Rangers.

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From the far past Billy Hughes comes to mind. Sad to see the passing of Hughes  back in December 2019. Filbert Street became a home ground for Billy after spending all those years at Sunderland and of course being a member of that very special 1973 FA Cup winning side. In 1977 he joined Leicester City from a brief spell at Derby County. He scored 5 goals in 37 league games, playing regularly from his arrival to the end of his period in 1979.

A number the so called “Bloomfield Boys” made the move to Roker Park and Sunderland. Bob Lee was the first, making a surprising £200.000 move up there in 1976. He was a well liked “local lad” and one Leicester City fans would have liked to stay, but instead became a favorite for Sunderland instead, playing 109 league games and scoring 32 goals over a period of four years. He later had spells at Bristol Rovers, Carlisle United and Darlington.

Steve Whitworth came next, joining Sunderland from Leicester City in 1979. He spent the next two seasons at Roker Park and played in a team together with Bob Lee. They both returned to Filbert Street to play Leicester City, Whitworth as captain and Lee up front, both said to have had a strange feeling about it all. Both Leicester locals spending many years with City and of course playing in the blue and white strip as a home team, and now suddenly being in the away shirt and an opponent.

Frank Worthington also had a brief spell at Sunderland joining them in 1982 after his spell with Birmingham City. Frank added up 19 league games and scored 2, before leaving for his next adventure at Southampton.

That historical game from March 2000 when Leicester City hammered Sunderland 5-2 was one with a couple of players who have been in both camps. Nicky Summerbee and Kevin Phillips both represented Sunderland at the time and later became promotion men for Leicester City. Nicky Summerbee had a good spell at Leicester City being important in that 2002-03 promotion push. Kevin Phillips arrived at Leicester City almost 14 years later playing and scoring a few important goals in the 2013/14 season, which we all know ended in a League Championship triumph and Kevin Phillips continuing on in a coaching capacity, but left during the 2015/16 season to take up the vacant position as assistant to Dave Clement at Derby County.

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Goalkeeper Marton Fulop did play for both clubs, joining from Sunderland on loan back in 2007. Fulop was fondly remembered at both clubs. The Hungarian international sadly passed away, after struggling with cancer illness, he was only 32 years of age.

Would also mention Jamie Lawrence and Dave Buchanan. Lawrence playing at Sunderland in his early years playing only 4 league games before his career took a switch following a number of successful years at Doncaster Rovers, Leicester City and Bradford City. Buchanan was a teenage sensation at Leicester City in the late 70’s and one time the youngest player ever to have appeared in the City first team. Buchanan struggled with injuries and had to take the step down in non-league football before his move to Sunderland playing at Roker Park from 1986 to 1988.

A list of players in both camps,

  • Goalkeepers
    • Marton Fulop
    • Ben Alnwick
  •  Defenders
    • Steve Whitworth
    • Clive Clarke
  • Midfield
    • Steve Agnew
    • Nicky Summerbee
    • Jamie Lawrence
  • Forwards
    • Frank Worthington
    • Bob Lee
    • Martyn Waghorn
    • Kevin Phillips
    • Billy Hughes
    • David Buchanan

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