From The Vault: How Peter Reid and Paul Bracewell persuaded Newcastle United player to join Sunderland

Ex-Cats midfielder Lee Clark once revealed details about how his move to Sunderland came about.

Clark joined Sunderland from North East rivals Newcastle United in 1997 and was part of the side promoted to the Premier League two seasons later as champions.

The 99 team won promotion with a then professional league record of 105 points.

A year earlier, Clark had been a key player in the side that reached the First Division play-off final, only to suffer a penalty shoot-out defeat to Charlton Athletic after a crazy 4-4 draw at Wembley.

‘From The Vault’ is a brand new series of nostalgic pieces and photo articles brought to you by The Echo.

However, it all ended in tears for Clark at Sunderland.

At the FA Cup final in 1999, he was spotted with the Newcastle fans wearing an anti-Sunderland T-shirt with the slogan and was immediately dropped from the team, and never played for Sunderland again.

Clark, though, has often shared some amusing stories about his time on Wearside including this on how he was persuaded to join the club.

Speaking to Open Goal back in 2019 when he was Blyth Spartans manager, Clark said: “Sunderland was the last club I met, I remember meeting Reidy [Peter Reid] in Manchester and saying ‘Listen Peter, I’ve come out of courtesy’.

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“Paul Bracewell who I played alongside, played a big part in my career. He was Peter’s assistant and he’d set up the meeting and I basically said to ‘I’ve come out of respect, that they’d asked to meet us but there is no way I am going to sign’.

“Six bottles of Dom Perignon later, I’d signed a five-year contract!”

‘From The Vault’ is a series of nostalgic pieces and photo articles brought to you by The Echo, highlighting some of the best scenes and stories from seasons gone by for Sunderland supporters to enjoy.

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