Danny Graham: Should Geordie’s ever play for rivals Sunderland?

Tuesday night and a chorus of boos ring around the Stadium of Light. The boo’s are directed towards Swansea’s Danny Graham, as he comes on as a substitute. Two days later and he has signed for the Black Cats for £5million. Welcome to Sunderland, Danny.

So why was Graham booed by some fans, knowing that he was potentially on his way to Sunderland? His Geordie background will help answer that question.

A few years ago, when playing for Watford, Graham was asked who he would support if Newcastle failed to exist. He replied: “Put it this way, I would stay as far away from Sunderland as I could.”

But now Graham will wear the red and white stripes of Sunderland; something which has split the Sunderland fans. Many fans can’t ignore his Newcastle roots, while others are willing to give the 27-year-old striker a chance to prove himself. But does it really matter that he supports Sunderland’s fierce rivals?

If you look back at Sunderland’s history, then it suggests that it doesn’t matter at all. One of the clubs proudest moments, the 1973 FA Cup win over Leeds, was pioneered by Bob Stokoe, a born and bred Geordie. In fact, there is even a statue of his famous pose at the final whistle standing outside of the Stadium of Light. Another Newcastle fan who played for Sunderland was Don Hutchinson.

Hutchinson became a fans favourite despite his Geordie roots, even kissing the badge when scoring at St. James Park. This is evidence that if the players perform on the pitch then people will forget all about their roots. No Liverpool fan ever hated Michael Owen for supporting Everton.

However, Sunderland fans do have the right to be wary after looking at more recent examples. Michael Chopra, a boyhood Newcastle fan and former player spent two years at Sunderland. Chopra’s roots were forgotten on his debut, scoring the winner on the opening day of the season, with his celebration looking similar to Alan Shearer’s iconic arm raise.

Chopra only scored eight goals, but Sunderland fans will always remember him for another reason. During the Tyne-Wear Derby, Chopra was guilty of missing a chance with the score at 1-1. This immediately led to fans jumping on his back, accusing Chopra of missing on purpose. Chopra’s Sunderland career never recovered after that.

In 1997, Geordie born and bred fan Lee Clark completed his move to Sunderland. Like Chopra, he spend two years on Wearside, Initially, his performances had won over the cautious fans but his Sunderland career abruptly came to an end when he was spotted with Newcastle fans wearing a t-shirt saying “Sad Mackem Bastards.”

The recent examples show why Sunderland fans will be uneasy about the Graham signing but they need to give him a chance. At the end of the day, Graham is a professional footballer, who will be giving his all for the team that play his wages. It doesn’t matter who Graham supports, when he puts on the red and white stripes, his focus will be on playing for Sunderland.

If playing for Sunderland would have been an issue for Graham, then he wouldn’t have signed. After rejecting offers from Norwich and Middlesbrough, Graham claimed that Sunderland was always his first option. A reassuring sign for Sunderland signs surely?

But there will be always be some doubters. His Geordie roots will always be brought up after poor performances, so Graham really needs to hit the ground running to win over the fans.

But if Graham gives his all and scores goals then his comments a few years ago will quickly be forgotten, especially if he manages to score at the ground he used to go to with a black and white top.


Written by Craig Lishman

Follow him on Twitter @CraigLishman

Please like O-Posts on Facebook

You can follow O-Posts on Twitter @OPosts


  1. JC

    February 4, 2013 at 21:31

    You are getting completely mixed up here. It had nothing to do with him being a “geordie”. The general media simply fail to understand this and you too have fallen into the same trap.

    There are lots of “geordies” who support Sunderland. Just because someone is a “geordie” does not automatically make them a Newcastle fan. Geordie is not a nickname for Newcastle fans, it is a name given to people born in Tyneside.

    The reason Graham was booed was because he is (or at least was) a Newcastle supporter, it had nothing to do with him being a geordie. What’s more, he had said a derogatory comment about Sunderland in an interview which hadn’t been forgotten.

  2. vince richardson

    February 4, 2013 at 21:49

    Graham has a monkey on his back before kicking a ball,his black and white allegiance will not be forgotten and will likely come back to haunt him at some point

    Hutchinson was kissing the badge one week and moving on the next week for a huge pay rise.Earning him the moniker Don “the Dollar” Hutchinson,yet all players do it…Darren Bent included.Lee Clark was accepted by and large but was tricked into wearing THAT T-shirt and in my opinion badly done to by the fans…but I guess under the circumstances he had to go.Chopra too was vilified when I though he did the right thing passing the ball that day…but try convincing some Sunderland fans.These players just never get the benefit of the doubt.Like it or nor Graham will just not please all the fans and he never will unless he plays here the rest of his life and wins trophies.Shame really but that’s football in the NE.

    • Rob haddon

      February 5, 2013 at 12:50


  3. albert conroy

    February 5, 2013 at 07:51

    Learn how to use apostrophies.

  4. Rob haddon

    February 5, 2013 at 12:45

    Sorry mate your wrong…Geordies are geordies and mackems are mackems..Your a mackem

  5. Rob haddon

    February 5, 2013 at 12:48

    JC..do you know why Sunderland don’t grow,cause they don’t get any sunlight…forever in the toons shadow