The 100 greatest Sunderland signings: 50-46

Darren Williams.
Darren Williams.
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A PAIR of defenders from the mid-1990s and a Belgian goalkeeper make the list today as we countdown the 100 greatest post-war Sunderland signings.

Our judging panel has selected the 100 greatest post-war signings and the criteria was very simple.

Chris Makin.

Chris Makin.

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

Today we feature numbers 50 to 46.

50. Darren Williams (Pictured above)

- Defender joined Sunderland from York City in 1996 for £50,000

Ian Atkins

Ian Atkins

- Established himself in the first-team in first season and helped Sunderland win promotion in 1999

- Made 239 appearances for Sunderland, scoring six times

- Left the club in 2004, and later played for the likes of Cardiff City, Hartlepool United and Bradford City. Now plays for and manages Whitby Town

49. Chris Makin (Pictured)

Simon Mignolet

Simon Mignolet

- Defender joined Sunderland in 1997 from Marseille for £500,000

- Was part of the side which won promotion to the Premier League in 1999

- Made 143 appearances for Sunderland, scoring once

- Left the club in 2001 to join Ipswich Town before later playing for the likes of Leicester City, Reading and Southampton

Jody Craddock

Jody Craddock

48. Ian Atkins (Pictured)

- Defender joined Sunderland from Shrewsbury Town in 1982 for £80,000

- Made 87 appearances for Sunderland, scoring six times

- Left the club in 1984 to join Everton

- Went on to represent the likes of Birmingham City, Colchester United and Doncaster Rovers, before managing a host of lower-league clubs

47. Simon Mignolet (Pictured)

- Goalkeeper joined Sunderland in 2011 from Belgian side Sint-Truiden for around £2m

- Eventually cemented himself as first choice ahead of Craig Gordon and Kieren Westwood, becoming recognised as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League

- Made 101 appearances for Sunderland, without scoring

- Left Sunderland to join Liverpool in 2013 for around £9m, but has since struggled for consistency at Anfield

46. Jody Craddock (Pictured)

- Defender joined Sunderland in 1997 from Cambridge United for £300,000

- Eventually forced his way into the side, and was a key part of the team which lost in the 1998 play-off final

- Helped the club to promotion the following year, and became more important in the Premier League

- Made 168 appearances for Sunderland, scoring twice

- Left the club in 2003 to join Wolverhampton Wanderers, where he stayed until retiring in 2013

- Had a testimonial match in 2014, with a Wolves XI taking on a Sunderland XI at Molineux

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

We’ll reveal the top 10 in a couple of weeks, and you will be able to vote either online or by text.

You can also tweet your views on the countdown by using the hashtag #SAFC100.

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.