Ex-Arsenal, Hull City, Middlesbrough and England man lifts lid on failed move to Sunderland

Ex-Arsenal, Middlesbrough and England international Ray Parlour has detailed how he could have joined Sunderland.

Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 2:36 pm

Black Cats legend Peter Reid made an attempt to lure Parlour away from back Highbury in 2001.

Reid even offered to almost double Parlour’s wage at Arsenal but the midfielder decided against making the move to the Stadium of Light.

Whilst Sunderland did well under Reid during that period, Parlous went on to win the Premier League title twice, two FA Cups, and the Community Shield.

Ray Parlour.

“It was the best decision I ever made,” Parlour told talkSPORT. “Because I would never have scored in a cup final, I would never have gone unbeaten with that team, I would never have got another three or four trophies.

“For me, it was always about trophies. I was on about £20k a week I think at Arsenal at the time, in around 2001, roughly around then.

"It was Sunderland who came in for me and they offered me probably double my money. It was unbelievable. I love Peter Reid as a person, so I met him in London. I just wanted to meet him because he was an ex-England player, a midfielder, and I respected him.

“Steve Bould had just gone to Sunderland and he said, ‘Ray’s in great form, he’s good for the dressing room, why don’t you try and sign him?’ I met Peter and he was saying, ‘I can try and get you this and that’, and after another bottle of wine he was going up and up with wages – I was asking him if he wanted another bottle!

"In the end, I went back to Arsenal, I think Arsene Wenger knew that I had rejected Sunderland and he then gave me some more money – he didn’t have to.

"I didn’t ask for it, but he just said, ‘I’m going to give you another £10k a week’ or something like that, and that was it, I stayed at Arsenal and, luckily, I did. I was in such a good team and I was always going to be playing on quite a regular basis as well."

Parlour went on to play for Middlesbrough and Hull City after leaving Arsenal and also played 10 times for England.