Top 10 Sunderland Players of All Time

Sunderland A.F.C. might not be in a  good position in English Football currently, but they have a rich history and here we learn about the top 10 Sunderland players of all time.

10. Raich Carter

Raich Carter (Credit: Innes Photographers)

Carter, a Hendon native, was an explosive inside-forward who, during the bulk of the 1930s, was considered one of the top players in the country. He made his league debut at the age of 19 and had already won a League Championship medal, an FA Cup winner’s medal, and represented England by the time he was 24.

He led Sunderland to victory in the 1937 FA Cup final as a terrific all-round performer. In 1946, he also represented Derbyshire in first-class cricket. Later in life, he worked as a football manager.

9. Bobby Kerr

Bobby Kerr (Credit:Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images)
Bobby Kerr (Credit:Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images)

Bobby Kerr moved to Sunderland from Alexandria, Scotland, when he was 17 years old. He recovered from broken legs twice as a young player, which would have terminated the careers of many other players at the time. Despite this, he scored 69 goals in 433 appearances between 1970 and 1978, hardly missing a game.

Kerr, despite his little height, is a towering figure in Sunderland’s postwar history, having led the club to the FA Cup final in 1973 and the Division Two title three years later. Kerr was a strong competitor who ran the heart of midfield when he was in form, earning the nickname “little general” from Bob Stokoe. He participated in all nine matches during the winning ’73 cup run.

8. Len Ashurst

Len Ashurst (Credit:
Len Ashurst (Credit:

Ashurst spent more than a decade at Sunderland, where he established a record for outfield appearances that still stands. He was signed when Liverpool declined to grant him a professional contract. Ashurst was an ever-present for Sunderland when they gained promotion in 1964. He was a fearsome left-back with a thundering tackle and apparently boundless energy. In 1971, he received a testimonial.

7. Stan Anderson

Stan Anderson (Credit:
Stan Anderson (Credit:

Stan Anderson, who ranks second on Sunderland’s all-time appearance record for outfield players, is a rare example of a player who has played for all three of the North East’s major teams. But it was on Wearside that he earned his reputation, with his dedication, tenacity, and leadership characteristics making him a natural captain. In 1963-64, he was a member of the promotion-winning squad, playing the bulk of his games at right-half.

6. Bobby Gurney

Bobby Gurney (Credit: Facebook)
Bobby Gurney (Credit: Facebook)

Gurney, who was born in Silksworth, served with Sunderland for 22 years, including the war years. He began his career as an inside forward before transitioning to a centre forward who played down the centre. He is without a doubt one of the finest Sunderland footballers of all time.

Throughout his career, Gurney was a clever forward who averaged more than a goal every other game. For seven seasons in a row, he was the leading scorer. His 228 goals, which include 10 hat-tricks and two fours, give him Sunderland’s all-time leading scorer.

5. Jimmy Montgomery

Jimmy Montgomery (Credit: Facebook)
Jimmy Montgomery (Credit: Facebook)

Jimmy is a Sunderland AFC fan who has dedicated his entire life to the club. Montogmery ought to be included in any list of Sunderland legends, regardless of his career, achievement, or brilliance. His 623 appearances are still an all-time high, putting him more than 170 games ahead of his nearest opponent.

His biggest moment occurred in the 1973 FA Cup final, when he made a spectacular double save from Trevor Cherry and Peter Lorimer, giving him one of the greatest Wembley moments of all time. He’s a true credit to the club and a true legend in every sense of the term.

4. Kevin Phillips

Kevin Phillips (Credit:
Kevin Phillips (Credit:

It seemed like many previous Sunderland signings of the decade when Sunderland signed Kevin Phillips from Watford. Kevin, who are you? That sensation didn’t last long, though, as Kevin went on to become Super Kev. Kevin Phillips was a goal scorer and a footballer.

Goals came from all over the place, and they were scored against everyone. He seemed to score every time he took a shot. True, he was part of an aggressive unit that generated chances, but Kevin Phillips was the one who completed them all.

In 1997/98, he scored 31 goals, followed by 23 goals in just 26 games the following season. Phillips scored 30 goals in his debut season in the Premier League, making him the first Englishman to win the European Golden Boot.

3. Charlie Buchan

Charlie Buchan (Credit:

Buchan was a tremendously accomplished inside-forward who could also play through the centre and became a legend at the turn of the century. His total of 209 league goals for Sunderland has never been equalled, and he was capable of scoring a variety of goals, with the glancing header being his trademark. From the championship-winning season of 1912-13 until the 1923-24 season, he was the league’s best scorer, and in 1922-23, he was the country’s leading scorer.

2. Marco Gabbiadini

Marco Gabbiadini (Credit: Photo by Mark Leech/Getty Images)

Gabbiadini joined Sunderland in an £80,000 transfer from York. He was an adept marksman who paired fluid pace with skilled finishing skills. In his debut season at Roker Park, he scored 21 league goals helping Sunderland win the Third Division title, and he continued to hit the net on a regular basis while the Wearsiders struggled in the second tier. A week after scoring a six-minute hat-trick against Charlton, he moved to Crystal Palace for £1.8 million.

1. Charlie Hurley

Charlie Hurley (Credit:

Charlie Hurley was a ball-playing centre defender. Those who observed him on a daily basis often said he was ahead of his time.

His ability to head the ball into attacking positions altered the perception of corners. The enthusiastic Mackem audience would sing “Charlie, Charlie, Charlie” whenever we earned a corner, as though expecting a towering header to smash the back of the net.

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Hurley, one of the best Sunderland footballers of all time, made 401 appearances for the club and scored 26 goals while also earning 40 Republic of Ireland caps.

Written by Surajit Das

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