For every Kevin Phillips or Kevin Ball there have been players who faded into the footnotes of the club’s history, and who may not be remembered by many supporters.
From foreign imports to Premier League record-breakers, who are the players that everyone seems to forget played for the Black Cats?
We take a look at those who you’ve probably forgotten - but how many can you remember? We take a look at some of the most forgettable Sunderland signings of recent years:
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1. DOMINIC MATTEO
While the versatile defender went on to have an impressive career with Liverpool and Leeds United - and gained international recognition with Scotland - it’s often forgotten that he rocked-up on Wearside in 1995 for a brief loan spell. He appeared just once for Sunderland in the First Division before returning to Anfield.
Photo: Clive Brunskill
2. BRIAN DEANE
The Premier League’s first-ever goalscorer shot to fame at Sheffield United - but can you remember his brief spell at Sunderland in 2005? He made just four appearances for the Black Cats before signing for Perth Glory.
Photo: Michael Steele
3. PATRICE CARTERON
Now manager of Egyptian giants Zamalek, French defender Carteron signed for Sunderland in 2001 after leaving Saint-Etienne. He made eight appearances at the Stadium of Light, scoring once. A better record than some strikers we’ve seen down the years…
Photo: Ross Kinnaird
4. THOMAS HELMER
A German international with a spell at Bayern Munich under his belt, it all looked positive for Helmer when he arrived at Sunderland. But he failed to perform, and was subsequently shipped out to Hertha Berlin.
Photo: David Rogers