REVEALED: The top 10 greatest ever Sunderland signings - now it is up to you to choose the best!

Charlie Hurley
Charlie Hurley
Have your say

OUR countdown of the 100 greatest ever Sunderland signings has reached the top 10 - and now its over to you to choose your favourite.

Our judging panel has selected the greatest post-war signings and the criteria was very simple.

Niall Quinn

Niall Quinn

Players had to have played after World War II, and those who had come through the ranks were not eligible.

Our panel also selected a top 10 but the order of those players below will be up to Echo readers, who can vote for who they believe is the greatest signing in the club’s post-war history either online or by text.

Here’s the list to choose from:

Charlie Hurley (Pictured above)

George Mulhall

George Mulhall

- Centre-back joined Sunderland from Millwall in 1957 for £20,000, aged just 20

- In 1979, he was voted the club’s best-ever player in a centenary poll of supporters

- Nicknamed ‘The King’, he started his Sunderland career with a 7-0 loss to Blackpool, but went on to become captain and led his team to promotion from the second tier in 1964

- In 1964, he came second to Bobby Moore for the Football Writers’ Player of the Year award

Gary Bennett

Gary Bennett

- Made 401 appearances for Sunderland, scoring 26 times

- Moved to Bolton in 1969, and the former Republic of Ireland international managed Reading between 1972 and 1977

- Sunderland’s former training ground was named the Charley Hurley Centre in his honour

Niall Quinn (Pictured)

Kevin Ball

Kevin Ball

- Striker joined Sunderland from Manchester City in 1996 for a club record fee of £1.3m

- Missed six months of his first season at the club through injury as they were relegated, but went on to form a prolific strike partnership with Kevin Phillips

- Scored the first goal at the Stadium of Light and helped Sunderland to promotion in 1999

- Had a testimonial match in 2002

- Republic of Ireland international made 220 appearances for Sunderland, scoring 69 times

- Left the club by retiring in 2002

Marco Gabbiadini

Marco Gabbiadini

- Returned to Sunderland in 2006 after heading the Drumaville Consortium’s takeover of the club, and became both the manager and chairman

- After four straight league losses, Quinn stepped down as manager, and stayed as chairman until 2011, before leaving the club in 2012

George Mulhall (Pictured)

- Outside left joined Sunderland in 1962 from Aberdeen

- Made 125 consecutive appearances for Sunderland: a club record

- Helped club to promotion to top tier in 1964

- Made 289 appearances for Sunderland, scoring 67 times

- Left the club in 1969 to join Cape Town City, and later managed clubs including Bradford City and Bolton Wanderers

Gary Bennett (Pictured)

- Defender joined Sunderland from Cardiff City in 1984 for an initial fee of £65,000

- Scored two minutes into his Sunderland debut, against Southampton

- Played in 1985 Milk Cup final defeat to Norwich City, and captained Sunderland to promotion from the third tier in 1988, and helped them to promotion from the second tier in 1990.

- Played in 1992 FA Cup final against Liverpool, and had a testimonial match against Rangers before leaving in 1995

- Made 443 appearances for Sunderland, scoring 25 times, and is fifth on the club’s all-time appearance list

- Went on to play for Carlisle United, Scarborough and Darlington, and briefly managed Darlington.

- Bennett now works as a radio pundit and commentates on Sunderland games

Kevin Ball (Pictured)

- Player who played in defence in midfield, joined Sunderland from Portsmouth in 1990 for £350,000

- Played in FA Cup final loss to Liverpool in 1992

- Twice won promotion to the Premier League with Sunderland, and captained the team in the heartbreaking play-off final defeat to Charlton Athletic in 1998

- Had a testimonial match against Sampdoria in 1999 before leaving to join Fulham later that year

- Made 388 appearances for Sunderland, scoring 27 times

- After retiring, Ball returned to the club on the backroom team, and has twice spent spells in caretaker charge. His current position is senior professional development coach

Marco Gabbiadini (Pictured)

- Striker joined Sunderland from York City in 1987 for £80,000

- Struck up impressive partnership with Eric Gates, and helped Sunderland to the Third Division championship in his first season, 1987-88

- In his third season, he fired the club to promotion to the top flight, and scored the second in a famous play-off semi-final second leg win over Newcastle United at St James’s Park

- Made 185 appearances for Sunderland, scoring 87 times

- Left to join Crystal Palace in 1991, and later had spells for the likes of Derby County, Stoke City and Darlington

- Gabbiadini now works as a radio pundit

Brian Clough (Pictured)

- Striker joined Sunderland from Middlesbrough in 1961 for £45,000

- Left Middlesbrough with a scoring record of 204 goals in 222 games

- Made 74 appearances for Sunderland, scoring 63 times, but a serious injury originally suffered in 1962 forced him to retire

- Joined Sunderland’s coaching staff after retirement, before going on to manage Hartlepool United

- Went on to become one of the best football managers of all-time, with league titles at Derby County and Nottingham Forest, as well as two European Cups with the latter

Kevin Phillips (Pictured)

- Striker joined Sunderland from Watford in 1997 for a fee of up to £600,000

- Scored 35 goals in his debut season, which ended with play-off final heartbreak with a penalty shoot-out loss to Charlton Athletic

- His 25 goals the following season, despite missing four months with a broken toe, helped Sunderland to promotion to the Premier League

- Became the first Englishman to win the European Golden Boot award in the 1999-2000 season, with 30 Premier League goals

- Enjoyed a prolific partnership with Niall Quinn, broke the club’s post-war scoring record and played for England, but left after Sunderland’s relegation in 2003

- Made 235 appearances for Sunderland, scoring 130 times

- Later went on to play for the likes of Southampton, Aston Villa, Birmingham City and Crystal Palace, and now works as Leicester City’s first-team coach

Dave Watson (Pictured)

- Defender joined in 1970 from Rotherham United for £100,000

- Won FA Cup with Sunderland in 1973, scoring four goals on the cup run

- Capped 65 times at senior level by England and regarded as one of Sunderland’s greatest-ever defenders

- Started as a centre-forward at Sunderland before Bob Stokoe made him a centre-back

- Left in 1975 to join Manchester City for £175,000

- Made 212 appearances for Sunderland, scoring 33 times

Len Shackleton (Pictured)

- Inside left joined Sunderland from Newcastle United in 1948 for £20,000

- Went on to be capped five times by England and is considered a Sunderland legend.

- His goal against West Germany in 1954 was the last time a Sunderland player had scored for England before Darren Bent struck against Switzerland in 2010

- Was part of the Sunderland side which finished third in the top flight in 1950

- Made 348 appearances for Sunderland, scoring 100 times

- Left the club by retiring in 1957

Vote by text:

Text your votes before noon on January 26, 2015, to 65550.

Simply start your text with the words SECTOP followed by the two-digit code of the favourite signing you wish to vote for (without spaces). Follow this with a space and then your name address and email address (max.160 characters).

For example: SECTOP03 Joe Bloggs etc.

Top 10 vote:

Text SECTOP01 for Charlie Hurley

Text SECTOP02 for Niall Quinn

Text SECTOP03 for George Mulhall

Text SECTOP04 for Gary Bennett

Text SECTOP05 for Kevin Ball

Text SECTOP06 for Marco Gabbiadini

Text SECTOP07 for Brian Clough

Text SECTOP08 for Kevin Phillips

Text SECTOP09 for Dave Watson

Text SECTOP10 for Len Shackleton

Vote online:

Click here to make your vote online


Text lines close at noon on Monday, January 26, 2015.

You will receive a reply to confirm receipt of your text vote. Your text message must follow the exact form as stated, otherwise your vote may not be counted but you may still be charged. Texts cost 50p plus your standard network rate. Votes received after the stated closing deadline will not be counted but you still may be charged.

Multiple votes accepted. Open only to UK residents over 18 years. Bill payer’s permission must be obtained before entering.

SMS service provided by mGage, London, SE18ND. By entering, you are indicating that you are happy to receive

offers from Johnston Press Plc. by SMS. Please add NOINFO at the end of your text entry if you do not wish to receive these. Helpline: 0207921 5562.

For full t&cs go to

The countdown:

* Click here for 100-96 - including Phil Gray.

* Click here for 95-91 - including Steven Fletcher.

* Click here for 90-86 - including David Connolly.

* Click here for 85-81 - including Alex Chamberlain.

* Click here for 80-76 - including Fred Hall.

* Click here for 75-71 - including Mart Poom.

* Click here for 70-66 - including Alex Rae.

* Click here for 65-61 - including Eric Gates.

* Click here for 60-56 - including John O’Shea.

* Click here for 55-51 - including Don Goodman.

* Click here for 50-46 - including Simon Mignolet.

* Click here for 45-41 - including Dick Malone.

* Click here for 40-36 - including Lee Clark.

* Click here for 35-31 - including Willie Watson.

* Click here for 30-26 - including Charlie ‘Cannonball’ Fleming.

* Click here for 25-21 - including Chris Turner.

* Click here for 20-16 - including Paul Bracewell.

* Click here for 15-11 - including Darren Bent.

Brian Clough

Brian Clough

Kevin Phillips

Kevin Phillips

Dave Watson

Dave Watson

Len Shackleton

Len Shackleton