Tributes paid to former Sunderland player who has died aged 53

Tributes have been paid to former Sunderland player Nigel Saddington following his death aged 53.

Monday, 28th January 2019, 1:43 pm
Updated Monday, 28th January 2019, 1:53 pm
Former Sunderland AFC defender Nigel Saddington.

The Sunderland-born defender made five appearances for the Black Cats in the 1980s under the management of Lawrie McMenemy.

He later moved on to Carlisle United, becoming captain of the Cumbrian club.

Sadly at the age of just 25 he was diagnosed with M.E.

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SAFC historian Rob Mason wrote the following tribute for the club's official website.

"The news that former centre half Nigel Saddington has passed away at the age of 53 came as a shock to the club, who pass on their condolences to Nigel’s family and friends.

"Sunderland-born, Nigel started his league career with Doncaster Rovers before coming to Sunderland and making five appearances under Lawrie McMenemy.

"Saddington’s Sunderland debut came in September 1986 in the equivalent of the Checkatrade Trophy, Nigel netting a penalty in a successful shoot out against Barnsley.

"He went on to make three league appearances plus having another game in the FA Cup.

"Moving on to Carlisle Nigel became captain and as well as playing against Liverpool in the FA Cup went on to play 97 league games, once scoring 10 goals in a season. At the age of 25 Saddington was diagnosed with M.E. and released by the Cumbrians.

"He continued to play football, firstly with Gateshead and then in local football, earning a living outside the game as a car salesman.

"Nigel also was the only former player known to buy a house on the former site of Roker Park.

"Always a quiet and popular player, Nigel Saddington will always be fondly remembered by everyone who knew him and saw him fulfil his ambition of playing for his hometown club."