Who are the best ever wide players to play for the Black Cats?
In recent weeks, Football League World has ranked Sunderland’s summer signings from the 2023-24 season, as well as the hardest Black Cats players of all-time and also their greatest ever strikers.
But which wingers that have graced Roker Park or the Stadium of Light with their presence in the red and white stripes make it into the best of all-time?
As ranked by FLW’s Sunderland fan pundit Jack Austwicke, let’s take a look at the top 12 wingers to ever play for the Wearsiders.
For just a £350,000 fee, McClean was certainly a bargain for Sunderland when he arrived in 2011.
The Irishman has certainly been controversial both on and off the pitch in years gone by, but he was certainly an asset on the pitch with eight Premier League goal contributions in his first year with the Black Cats.
And even though he ended up in the Championship with Wigan at the end of his second season in the North East, his ability on the pitch could never be questioned in a Sunderland shirt.
Signing for Sunderland late on in the 1996-97 season from Stade Rennais, Johnston’s main body of work came in the second tier of English football for the club.
The Scotsman won the First Division title with the club in 1998-99, having scored nine times that year and 11 the season prior, but things did end sour for him in the North East as he declared an interest in moving to Rangers in 1999.
Despite his Sunderland career ending with loan spells at Birmingham City and Bolton, Johnston was a very good winger for the club.
Such is Sunderland’s rapid rise from League One play-off winners to Championship promotion challengers within the previous 18 months, a number of recent Black Cats individuals make this list.
Clarke is one of them, having finally settled at a club after multiple unsuccessful loan ventures away from Tottenham Hotspur.
Having not necessarily showed his true form in League One, Clarke was superb in the Championship last year, scoring nine times and notching 12 assists, and the Premier League is well and truly in his sights once more due to the level of talent that he has – whether that is with or without Sunderland.
And another current Black Cats player to make the list is Roberts, who again has had a tough time of things in years gone by out on loan at different clubs.
Roberts fell by the wayside at Man City after being highly touted as a youngster, with Sunderland eventually giving him a chance in January 2022.
It’s one that Roberts has taken with both hands, and like Clarke he took the Championship in his stride with five goals and seven assists in the 2022-23 season.
Despite being around for a while, Roberts is still only 26 years of age and has some of his best years ahead of him – and perhaps they will happen at Sunderland.
Never fall in love with a loan player they say, but Sunderland fans definitely fell for Diallo.
The Ivorian was looking to get his career back on track last season at the Stadium of Light after disappointing at Rangers, and the Man United winger certainly didn’t disappoint.
Diallo fired home 14 goals for Sunderland last season and was a major part of why they made it to the Championship play-offs, and there are hopes that one day he will return to play for the club.
Acquired from Man City in a swap deal with Craig Russell in 1997, Summerbee certainly excelled on the right-hand side of midfield in a 4-4-2 for Sunderland.
He won promotion to the Premier League with the club in 1999 and continued to play an important part in their return to the Premier League for 1999-2000, although he was never one to get on the scoresheet that much.
Summerbee’s career probably peaked in the North East, but fans enjoyed watching him play.
An exciting wide player from Sunderland’s past, Cummings signed from Middlesbrough in 1979 and in his second year with the club won their Player of the Year award.
Cummings actually had two stints at Sunderland, but his first was by far the more memorable one as he scored 29 league goals in 133 appearances.
Malbranque wasn’t a goalscoring winger by any stretch of the imagination, but he was creative – as showed by his eight assists in the Premier League in his first season at the Stadium of Light.
His first season in 2008-09 following his move from Tottenham was by far the Frenchman’s best year, but he continued to play for another two years before returning to France – he had a touch of class about him that was above his team-mates at the time.
A man who is well respected among the terraces on Wearside, Larsson spent six years with Sunderland and was another player who had a spell-binding first season at the club with eight goals scored.
The Swede had a sensational delivery on him and was a danger to many Premier League defences, and when he was released in 2017 following the club’s relegation from the Premier League there was disappointment among the fanbase.
Trinidad & Tobago winger Edwards was a relatively expensive signing in 2007 from Luton for £1.5 million, but he was worth every penny.
Edwards contributed to 10 goals in his first half-season for the club as they stormed to promotion from the Championship, but injuries would mean he didn’t make much of an impact in the Premier League in 2007-08, although he’d play more in 2008-09 in the top flight.
Even for his first few months at Sunderland alone, Edwards was one of the more exciting modern day wingers for the club.
Newcastle-born winger Tueart made his Sunderland debut in 1968 and spending his first six professional years with the club, he won the FA Cup in 1973 as a Black Cat.
A scorer of 56 goals in 21 appearances on Wearside, Tueart was a real goalscorer and peaked in his final few years with the club, netting 44 times in the last three seasons he spent at Sunderland.
Tueart would go on to play for England after he left for Man City, with his career being pretty successful.
A real long-serving Sunderland player, Hughes spent the first 11 years of his career at Roker Park.
Scoring 74 league goals in 287 appearances, Hughes was another winner of the FA Cup in 1973 and two seasons later he was named in the PFA Team of the Year for the top flight of English football.
Hughes would never achieve the same success after leaving Sunderland at the age of 28, but he will go down as perhaps their best winger of all time.