Newcastle v Sunderland: Five who daringly played for both
Rarely can a player cross the divide between fierce rivals, but for some reason it seems to happen time and time again, and Newcastle and Sunderland are no exception.
A host of players have boldy turned out in the black and white of Newcastle and the red and white of Sunderland, and ahead of this weekend’s derby on Tyneside, we’ve profiled a few of the men who have dared to play for both.
We should probably start with a certain controversial red head who is famously infamous (or should that be infamously famous?) in Tyne and Wear circles…
The midfielder spent his youth career with Sunderland and made his debut aged 17, promptly being sent off after nine minutes for two bookable offences.
Racking up over 130 appearances for the Black Cats in the following years, Newcastle fan Colback wound down his contract in 2014.
The inevitable happened and for the last two seasons the Englishman has been very much a Magpie.
You can’t question his commitment, he’s been booked in every derby since switching allegiances.
It’s not well known, but Given played for Sunderland before becoming a Tyneside legend.
Signed by Kenny Dalglish on a free for Blackburn in 1994, the young Irishman couldn’t get the first team action, so went on loan to the Wearsiders, keeping 12 clean sheets in 17 games as the team won the Division One title in 1996.
When Dalglish became Newcastle manager that summer, Given was one of his first signings, for what became a bargain £1.5m.
12 years and 426 appearances later, Given is very much a Toon Army hero.
Signed for £6m by Sir Bobby Robson from Ipswich in 2002, when Titus Bramble was good he was actually really rather good. It’s, just, he wasn’t that good that often.
Still, the Englishman made 156 appearances on Tyneside, before becoming a mainstay with Wigan for three seasons.
He then joined the list of players to have played for both Newcastle and Sunderland by joining the Black Cats after following ex-Wigan boss Steve Bruce to the Stadium of Light in 2010.
Things didn’t go too well on his return to St James’ however, with Bramble sent off as United ran out 5-1 winners.
Danny Simpson is the only man on this list to not only have played for both teams, but to have won the Championship with both sides too.
After failing to make the cut at Manchester United, Sunderland were among a number of loan stints for the full-back, culminating in the 2006-07 Championship title.
A loan deal at Newcastle turned permanent in January 2010, and Simpson was a key member of the side under Chris Hughton who stormed that season’s second tier.
After 138 appearances in four seasons, Simpson left to join QPR, but is now on the verge of a Premier League success with Leicester…
We end with perhaps the most controversial player on this list.
Not only did Lee Clark move directly from Newcastle to Sunderland in 1997, but two years later was spotted at the 1999 FA Cup final supporting the Toon wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a derogatory statement about the Black Cats.
Then-manager Peter Reid promptly sold Clark to Fulham.
A six-year stint in the capital followed, before a final swansong back at St James’ Park in 2005. We don’t think he receives many Christmas cards from Sunderland fans though.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.