FAMOUS FIVE: Players for City and Sunderland

We go to Sunderland this weekend, a club with whom we have shared a lot of players down the years. Some of the tales are well-thumbed – the upsetting Michael Turner deal, the bizarre triangular arrangement involving Norman, Hesford and Whitehurst, the arrival in Hull of Raich Carter, the merry dances led by Fraizer Campbell’s dad – while currently the two squads have three players with experience of each club. We’ve looked at the rest and picked out five at random for you…

1. John McSeveney
McSeveneyJUndersized winger and ex-miner, capable on each flank, who began his career in his native Scotland with Hamilton Academical before joining Sunderland as a 20 year old in 1951. The Mackems were at the top end of the English game and had acquired the tag of the “Bank of England” club due to the large transfer fees they were prepared to pay.

McSeveney played tidily on the wing in four exciting years on Wearside, with mid-table finishes in his first three years followed by a terrific 1954/55 campaign which saw the top seven clubs separated by just six points. Sunderland finished fourth and got to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, losing to Manchester City. By now, McSeveney was being kept out by Billy Elliot, an England winger who was a huge success at Roker Park, and he was sold to Cardiff in the summer of 1955.

A spell at Newport then followed before he arrived at Boothferry Park for the 1961/62 campaign as one of Cliff Britton’s first signings and showed terrific versatility across the forward line, able to use his low centre of gravity to act the nippy nuisance on the flanks or the off-ball runner supporting the centre forward. He created an awful lot of goals for the emerging Chris Chilton and even outscored him in 1962/63 with 22 goals, a terrific achievement in his first season.

The ever-perfectionist Boothferry Park crowd were not slow to get on his case when his trickery went wrong but McSeveney was known for being unafraid to exchange a few choice words in return, which became part of his legacy after he retired in 1964. He stuck around as a coach and middle man as Britton rebuilt the forward line before becoming manager of Barnsley, and later was a scout and assistant manager at various clubs. He is now 85 and lives in South Yorkshire.

2. Peter Daniel


Outstanding full back from the ranks, Hull through and through, and the man who managed to dislodge the long-serving Frank Banks from the first team while still a teenager, to the extent that Banks insisted on an instant sale and, to his later regret, got his wish.

Daniel was very quick indeed, and his natural pace allowed him licence to overlap at every given opportunity and gained him a number of assists courtesy of his darts to the byline. He quickly became an England Under 21 international and was courted by numerous top clubs from the start of the 1977/78 season when it became clear that City were going to struggle to stay in the Second Division.

He left a relegated side to join a promoted side in Wolves, moved into midfield, and set up Andy Gray’s winner in the 1980 League Cup final. He was popular at Molineux but had injury issues, and after Wolves were relegated back to the Second Division, he signed for Sunderland in 1984 via a summer in the States. He only stayed one full season but it was eventful – he played in another League Cup final (losing to Norwich) and Sunderland were then relegated, meaning Daniel had suffered the indignity of consecutive demotions from the top flight.

He joined Lincoln City afterwards in a cost-cutting exercise and, as if to prove these things come in, er, fours, was player-manager (albeit only for two months) when they became the first club to exit the Football League via the automatic trapdoor system in 1987. If he was never given the nickname Jonah (no matter how unfair it would be), he was lucky.

After retiring from the full-time game, Daniel returned to East Yorkshire. He has been manager of pretty much every Yorkshire and Lincolnshire non-league club you can think of.

3. Michael Reddy

ReddyMIrish striker whose goalscoring record at City is somewhat odd, in that he only started one league game but ended up with four goals. His loan move from Sunderland, for whom he had started only a brace of League Cup ties, installed him as backup to the fresh partnership up front of Gary Alexander and Lawrie Dudfield, and he scored against Mansfield and Halifax (twice) before netting the only goal against Torquay in a game more famous for returning City hero Gary Brabin being sent off for the visitors.

Reddy was 21, ambitious and being hyped to the nth degree by Sunderland manager Peter Reid, so he didn’t want to stay any longer at Boothferry Park than he had to, but he was 24 when he finally left Sunderland, without ever starting a league game for them and with four other loan spells around the north of England on his CV.

He became a big-money move for Grimsby Town and while he scored regularly, he also struggled with a hip injury and ended up retiring at the age of 27 when surgery couldn’t correct the problem. He did a bit of travelling – notably marrying a woman from the Falkland Islands – and then took his coaching badges.

4. Eddie Burbanks

BurbanksEYorkshire-born left winger who was a long-term contemporary and chum of Raich Carter, with the two scoring in Sunderland’s FA Cup final win of 1937.

He was a latecomer to the professional game, going up to Wearside at the age of 22, but he had four successful years there prior to the outbreak of war, and a further three afterwards, making more than 150 league appearances.

At 35, he reunited with Carter at Boothferry Park in 1948 and was instrumental in City winning the Division Three North title, though he was injured for most of the FA Cup run that season, including the quarter final defeat by Manchester United.

In his final season, he was mentor to Andy Davidson, with the young Scot occasionally replacing the 39 year old when he needed a rest, and the two eventually appeared twice in the same XI when Davidson dropped back into defence.

Burbanks made his 143rd and final league appearance for City on April 16 1953, two weeks after his 40th birthday.

Even then it wasn’t over as he spent a season at Leeds before retiring, and he settled in Hull to run a shop, like a number of other City stars of the era. He died in 1986.


5. John Moore

A skill-free gobbet of Mackem hopelessness whom Eddie Gray signed in the summer of 1988, apparently believing him to be a better option than Andy Payton or Alex Dyer or Andy Saville, who were dropped, marginalised or played out of position to accommodate the new arrival.

Moore was from Consett and came through the ranks at Sunderland but the huge number of loan spells he had over five years at the club suggests that they didn’t really have much faith in him. How they must have laughed when Gray offered £25,000 for him in the summer of 1988. We mean really, really laughed. Guffawed. Hollered and hooted with mirth and disbelief. Gone out on a four-day bender on it, probably.

There wasn’t a lot wrong with Moore’s centre forward play if you can handle watching a striker who cannot control, trap, head the ball, run properly, stay onside, dribble, shake off a marker, pass, challenge aerially, stay fit, look interested or, of course, finish. The boo-boys tore into him early on but Gray stubbornly kept picking him and Moore’s substantial frame visibly sank into the lush Boothferry Park turf a bit more each time.

Even the goal (singular) he did score was accidental, with Ken De Mange’s goalbound shot against Swindon Town smacking Moore on the side of his head as he tried to get out of the way, fooling the goalkeeper entirely. Moore’s defiant fist to the crowd as his team-mates congratulated him suggested a “now I’ll show you” attitude (a prototype of that tossy celebration by Caleb Folan at Portsmouth) but in his remaining four games he just got worse.

Gray substituted him at half time against Birmingham at Boothferry Park after an especially spiteful round of abuse from the South Stand, and he wasn’t seen at a home game again.

3 replies
  1. PLT
    PLT says:

    As an 8 or 9 year old kid, I thought Michael Reddy was ace, although I can’t actually remember why. I used to collect players’ autographs at the time, but failed to get Reddy’s in his short loan spell here. Dad helped me to write to him at Sunderland and he sent a signed photo back. What a guy.

  2. ruisliptiger
    ruisliptiger says:

    The omission of so much of a fleeting mention of Paul McShane is perfectly understandable. As I’m sure a solo article showcasing the legend in all his smart casual glory, is being saved for an extra special occasion.

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