Played for both: Premier League era XI that crossed Tyne-Wear divide
Derby day between Sunderland and Newcastle United is the Tyne and Wear region’s showpiece sporting event.
Visiting head coach John Carver is no stranger to this local rivalry after many years of loyal service to the Toon. His Magpies are 15/8 with Coral to stop the slide of four straight derby losses, and win at the Black Cats for the first time since 2011.
Mackems manager Dick Advocaat, meanwhile, makes his home debut in the Stadium of Light dugout, and is 13/8 to continue Sunderland’s recent winning habit in this fiercely fought contest. A draw is 11/5, while odds for a red card being brandished are available at a special 3/1 price.
Our football experts started to wonder, however, if many players have crossed the Tyne-Wear divide, and could we make a Premier League era XI of names that have done so? It turns we can, so see below who has played for both…
Current Aston Villa and Republic of Ireland stopper Given may be a modern era great at Newcastle after making over 450 outings for the Toon, but did you know he spent time on loan at Sunderland way back in 1996, keeping a dozen clean sheets in 17 outings in the old Division One?
Right back: Danny Simpson
Manchester United academy product Simpson holds the distinction of earning Premier League promotions with both the Black Cats (2006/07) and Magpies (2009/10), making well over 100 appearances for the latter. He now plays for relegation-threatened Leicester City.
Centre back: Titus Bramble
Controversial centre half Bramble was often embroiled in trouble off the field, but racked up over 150 games for Newcastle (2002-07) after coming through the ranks at Ipswich Town. Following three years at Wigan Athletic, he returned to the northeast with Sunderland (2010-13).
Centre back: Steven Caldwell
Ex-Scotland defender Caldwell currently captains MLS franchise Toronto FC, but directly crossed the Tyne-Wear divide when released by the Magpies in 2004 after coming through their ranks. At the Stadium of Light, he helped the Black Cats win the Championship under Mick McCarthy, but Sunderland were relegated immediately after a dismal 2005/06 campaign.
Left back: Robbie Elliott
Also capable of playing in central defence, no-nonsense full back Elliott, who grew up in Gosforth, had two spells on Tyneside (1991-97 and 2001-06), filling in gaps throughout his Newcastle career. Released after 11 years at the Toon, their rivals snapped him up on a short-term contract when Niall Quinn and Roy Keane were short of left-footed options at the back.
Now in charge of Sunderland’s youth sides, Bracewell had three stints as a player on Wearside (1983-84, 1989-92 and 1995-97), and crossed the divide twice. He joined the Magpies in 1992 and left to return to the Black Cats three years later.
Central midfield: Lee Clark
Wallsend-born Blackpool boss Clark used to command midfield with all-action performances, but caused quite a stir in 1997 when he left St James’ Park for Sunderland. Following a subsequent spell at Fulham, he returned to the Toon in 2005 before becoming their reserve team coach and then striking out in management.
Central midfield: Jack Colback
Left-footer Colback is the most recent player to cross this divide, having left the Black Cats for boyhood club Newcastle on a free last summer. Home fans will give him a hostile reception, but Colback can come back to haunt the Mackems by netting against his old side anytime at 15/2.
Support striker: Michael Bridges
North Shields native Bridges won three Premier League promotions with Sunderland (1995/96, 1998/99 and 2004/05) but, between his two stints at the Stadium of Light, he had an unsuccessful loan spell at the Magpies.
Striker: Andy Cole
During his only full season at St James’ (1993/94), ‘Cole the goal’ made himself really worthy of that nickname, netting 34 times to take the Premier League Golden Boot. It’s still a record for a single season in the modern era (shared with Toon icon Alan Shearer).
Cole’s subsequent stint at Sunderland towards the end of his career was less than ‘outstanding’, however, as he failed to score in seven outings. Relive some of his best Magpies strikes below:
Striker: Michael Chopra
Coming through the ranks at Newcastle from the age of 10, Chopra struggled to make the grade there throughout four seasons (2002-06) in the first-team. Undoubtedly at his very best in Cardiff City colours, he also had an unsuccessful stint at Sunderland (2007-09).