Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Time to Look Back after Best and Worst of Seasons

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Time to Look Back after Best and Worst of Seasons

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas at Molineux mark.douglas@trinitymirror.com

RUST Niall Quinn to get it right.

t. Asked about Sunderland's incredible, dramatic and unlikely campaign he summed it as clinically as any one of his 61 goals in red and white: "It's been a really bad season full of highs".

The man who helped haul the Black Cats back from the abyss all those years ago was talking about the Capital One Cup run, the defeats of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, of course. But yesterday at Molineux there was another treat for the 1,500 or so Sunderland supporters who journeyed to the West Midlands to pay tribute to Jody Craddock.

The centre-back (pictured right) is aiming to raise PS4million for Birmingham Children's Hospital in his testimonial year and it said it all that 9,095 turned up to support the game and pay tribute.

It said even more about the enduring popularity of the Sunderland teams that Craddock played in that so many were willing to trek for hours to catch a glimpse of Quinn and Kevin Phillips playing together again. For the players themselves, the memories were just as fond.

"That was the best dressing room I've ever been in. Camaraderie is one thing but genuine care for each other is another thing," he said.

"We were one big happy family and I had a glimpse of it again. I'm thrilled Jody (Craddock) asked me down and it's his day. Again, it's quite emotional with his family coming out to take penalties.

"He's a genuinely great guy. The referee (Alan Wiley) told me he had not given him a minute's bother, unlike the rest of us!" This was a veritable who's who of Sunderland stars of yesteryear.

Among the former heroes involved were Michael Gray, Julio Arca, Thomas Sorensen, Kevin Kilbane, Martin Smith, Gavin McCann and Marcus Stewart, all bossed by exassistant manager Bobby Saxton. …

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