John Terry stole all of the headlines in Chelsea’s 5-1 win over Sunderland today, as the champion’s captain departed the pitch, and his Chelsea career, in controversial circumstances midway through the first half. Terry is the Premier League’s most successful player to not play for Manchester United, after he won his fifth winners medal this month. However, the match had much more statistical significance, with Chelsea claiming a record 30th Premier League win in the game, and being the last match of Sunderland’s decade long top flight spell – their longest since being elected to the Football League First Division in 1890 and remaining there for 68 years.
Can you name Sunderland’s managers, and players with most appearances and goals from the last decade?
After Aston Villa’s relegation last season, Sunderland had risen to being the 8th longest standing Premier League (PL) club in the division. However, with the seven clubs above them being those that finished in the top seven positions in this season’s PL table, it was always looking unlikely they would progress higher in that record for a while. Stoke City are the next longest standing PL club, and will contest their tenth consecutive season in the top flight next season.
Sunderland’s Football League history
Ten seasons in the Premier League
A 3-2 win over Middlesbrough in April 2008 confirmed, with two games to go, that Sunderland would not end their first season back in the PL in the bottom three. Sunderland ended the season 15th with 39 points. The following season was a bit more close-cut with Sunderland surviving with just 36 points on the last day of the season thanks to Hull and Newcastle failing to win like themselves.
The next three seasons were Sunderland’s best in the last decade, under first Steve Bruce and then Martin O’Neill. Sunderland broke the 40 point barrier each time, and were never lower than 13th in the final standings. The 10th place in 2010/11 being the only top ten finish in this ten year PL spell. Steve Bruce spent big in 2009 – splashing out over £10m on Darren Bent who scored 24 PL goals in his only full season with the Black Cats. Bent was the PL’s third highest scorer in 2009/10 behind Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney, and is the only player to score more than 15 PL goals in a season for Sunderland in the last ten years. Bent was sold for a profit to Aston Villa in January 2011 after submitting a transfer request.
Sunderland’s performance over the last decade
Since the 2012/13 season Sunderland have been dicing with relegation, twice finishing 17th, and never reaching the generally perceived ‘safe’ 40 points milestone, but always doing just enough to stay up. 2012/13 saw survival confirmed with one game to go, while the following season’s 14th place finish masks the fact that Sunderland were bottom of the table in mid-April and needed four wins a row to surge out of the drop zone. 2013/14 did see Sunderland’s best cup run of the century – reaching the League Cup final where they were defeated 3-1 by Manchester City, although they were leading for half the match after Fabio Borini’s early goal. Sunderland also managed to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals in the same season, matching their recent best run from 2011/12.
Sunderland only scored 31 goals in their 2014/15 campaign, which like two years before saw PL safety ensured with just one game spare. A 3-0 win over Everton with five days to go in the 2015/16 season confirmed survival at the expense of rivals Newcastle, much to the delight of Wearsiders.
Like Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa before them, Sunderland’s constant flirting with the relegation zone finally caught up with them this season. As has been a tradition in recent seasons, Sunderland made a poor start. It took them until November before getting the first PL win of the season – a 2-1 victory at Bournemouth. Sunderland were still in trouble, when at the start of February they travelled to Crystal Palace. An impressive 4-0 win with all the goals in the first half, looked to have brought Sunderland back into contention for survival. Jermain Defoe scored two goals in that win, but Sunderland’s increasing reliance on the England striker found them out, as when Defoe’s goals dried up after that game, so did Sunderland’s. The Black Cats did not score in the next 700 minutes of PL football, by which point the task of staying up was far too big a job to pull off. The inevitable relegation was confirmed at the end of April after conceding a late goal to Bournemouth in a 1-0 home defeat, with four games still to play.
Nine permanent managers in ten seasons
|Manager||From||To||Pl||W||D||L||F||A||GD||Pts||Win %||Pts / Game|
|Roy Keane||Aug 2007||Dec 2008||53||15||9||29||49||83||-34||54||28.3%||1.02|
|Ricky Sbragia||Dec 2008||May 2009||23||5||6||12||21||30||-9||21||21.7%||0.91|
|Steve Bruce||Jun 2009||Nov 2011||89||25||27||37||108||127||-19||102||28.1%||1.15|
|Eric Black (caretaker)||Dec 2011||Dec 2011||1||0||0||1||0||1||-1||0||0.0%||0.00|
|Martin O’Neill||Dec 2011||Mar 2013||55||16||17||22||62||72||-10||65||29.0%||1.18|
|Paolo Di Canio||Apr 2013||Sep 2013||12||2||3||7||11||22||-11||9||16.7%||0.75|
|Kevin Ball (caretaker)||Sep 2013||Oct 2013||2||0||0||2||2||5||-3||0||0.0%||0.00|
|Gus Poyet||Oct 2013||Mar 2015||60||14||21||25||59||87||-28||63||23.3%||1.05|
|Dick Advocaat||Mar 2015||Oct 2015||17||3||6||8||16||28||-12||15||17.6%||0.88|
|Sam Allardyce||Oct 2015||Jul 2016||30||9||9||12||40||44||-4||36||30.0%||1.20|
|David Moyes||Jul 2016||May 2017||38||6||6||26||29||69||-40||24||15.8%||0.63|
Sam Allardyce boasts the best points per game ratio of any Sunderland manager in the last decade. With Allardyce leaving for the England manager’s job last summer, he is one of only two Black Cats managers in this period, along with Ricky Sbragia, not to end up sacked. Roy Keane, Steve Bruce (twice), and perhaps surprisingly, David Moyes are the only managers to go a full season in charge of Sunderland in the last decade. Moyes has the worst points per game ratio, fairing worse than short stint managers Paolo Di Canio and Dick Advocaat. Both of which were brought in to save Sunderland from relegation with only a handful of games remaining in the season, both did so, and both were axed early on into the following campaign after a poor start. Indeed, it is often the case of repeated history with Sunderland managers, with also Keane and Bruce’s tenures both ended after poor starts to a season, and Martin O’Neill and Gus Poyet both fired later on in a season with relegation concerns.
Steve Bruce is the only manager to take charge for more than two seasons, coinciding with Sunderland’s highest finishes in this period. Perhaps Sunderland can be accused of being a little trigger happy with firing managers, and ending up in a repeating cycle, however their decision to retain Moyes when they have been at the foot of the table for the majority of the season, has clearly not had the desired effect this season.
Most used players
|Last 10 Seasons||2007/08||2008/09||2009/10|
|2014/15||2015/16||2016/17||Most Apps List|
148 different players have been used by Sunderland over the past decade in the PL, with John O’Shea making the most appearances for any player in this period. Since joining from Manchester United in the summer of 2011, the Irishman has racked up 189 PL outings, and more than 2,500 minutes more than anyone else. Seven other players have appeared more than 100 times for the Wearsiders since 2007, with Lee Cattermole the longest serving player, staying with the Black Cats for eight seasons. Cattermole’s discipline has been something of a staple in the Sunderland side this decade, with the midfielder getting cautioned over 50 times, and seeing red on five occasions. No other Sunderland player has been sent off more than twice in the last ten years.
Ageing talented midfielders Bolo Zenden and Steed Malbranque are the most substituted players, with Zenden being brought on 36 times, and Malbranque withdrawn in 64 matches. Spare a thought for regular backup goalkeeper Vito Mannone who has been an unused substitute 75 times, which is one game shy of being two complete PL seasons. Mannone has been used just once from the bench, but has made 66 PL starts for Sunderland.
Sunderland have had 68 different goalscorers in the PL since 2007. Jermain Defoe has the most goals on 34, just pipping Darren Bent who played a year less for Sunderland than Defoe has. Defoe and Bent are the only players to score more than 12 PL goals in a season for Sunderland in the last ten years. Defoe has hit 15 goals in each of the last two seasons, whilst Bent recorded an impressive 24 in 2009/10, his only full season on Wearside. Bent is the only player to boast a strike rate better than one goal in two games, except for Stern John who scored in his only PL appearance for Sunderland. John’s last minute equaliser against Birmingham in 2007 came before being used in exchange as part of the deal that brought fellow Trinidadian striker Kenwyne Jones to the North East from Southampton. Jones and Steven Fletcher are the only players other than Defoe to top score in a season more than once, although both shared the honour the second time they did so. Fletcher’s shared top scorer title is with Connor Wickham in 2014/15 with a particularly low five goals apiece.
Three players have scored hat-tricks for Sunderland in this PL era. Bent netted a treble at home against Bolton in 2010, with the other two hat-tricks coming away from the Stadium of Light. Adam Johnson scored three in a 4-1 win at Fulham in 2014, and Defoe also bagged the match ball two years and two days later, in a 4-2 victory at Swansea. There have been seven hat-tricks against Sunderland in the same period, with two coming at the Stadium of Light.
Anton Ferdinand is the outfielder who has played the most games, 85, without scoring. However, he may have been less damaging to the cause than Wes Brown, who scored three own goals against Sunderland, and only one goal for the Black Cats. Phil Bardsley has also scored in the wrong end three times, but counteracts that with seven goals.
Sunderland’s best PL result in the last ten years is a 4-0 win, which they have achieved five times, four at home, and once away – the victory at Selhurst Park this season.
The worst PL defeat in this era is the 8-0 hammering in 2014 at Southampton, which embarrassingly featured three own goals, and is also Sunderland’s joint worst league defeat of all time.
Full Premier League opposition record 2007-2017
|Opponent||Pl||W||D||L||F||A||Pts||Pts / Game|
|West Ham United||18||4||6||8||19||21||18||1.00|
|West Bromwich Albion||16||2||5||9||16||28||11||0.69|
|Queens Park Rangers||6||2||1||3||7||9||7||1.17|
Sunderland have managed at least one victory against all 34 sides they have faced in the PL since 2007, yet they have not lost to Cardiff and Derby, although they have only faced those sides twice each. This means Sunderland have had notable victories against all of the big sides, Darren Bent 1-0 home winners over Liverpool and Arsenal in 2009, the former best remembered for a certain beach-ball incident. Sunderland have also won twice against Manchester United, 2-1 in 2016 at home, and 1-0 at Old Trafford in 2014. The Black Cats have a notable run of wins against Manchester City, winning four home games in a row 1-0 between 2010 and 2013.
However, surely Sunderland’s two most notable victories in the past ten years have come away against Chelsea. The first was an attention grabbing 3-0 victory in 2010 against the reigning PL champions. This was Chelsea’s heaviest home defeat in the PL for over eight years. However their victory at Stamford Bridge in April 2014 made major headlines as it was Jose Mourinho’s first home PL defeat in 78 games. Sunderland went into the match bottom of the table, and with Chelsea well in the title race, nobody saw a shock coming, especially when Samuel Eto’o put the home side in front early on. Connor Wickham quickly equalised, and Sunderland kept Chelsea out and stole the win with a late penalty from former Chelsea youth player Fabio Borini.
It’s not especially noteworthy that Chelsea are the team who have scored the most goals against Sunderland in the past ten years, 52. However, it is a surprise that the team Sunderland have scored the most against in the past decade is also Chelsea, 24. Its perhaps not unexpected then that the highest scoring PL game Sunderland have been a part of in the last ten years is a 7-2 defeat to Chelsea.
So it was fitting in some ways that this chapter of Sunderland’s history closed with a 5-1 defeat against Chelsea. This season’s tally of 24 points is the sixth worst in PL history, which might lead some to fear for Sunderland’s future in the Championship next season. However, Sunderland possess two of the five worse tallies, and have bounced back to the PL quickly in each instance. Indeed, in the last six campaigns that they have contested in the second tier, they have won the division four times, coming third in the league on the other two occasions. So don’t bet on Sunderland being away for too long before they embark upon another era of PL football on Wearside.