Where are they Now: Jeff Clarke


70's defender now working as a physio at Dundee United.

Jeff Clarke made 213 appearances for the Black Cats in a spell that spanned seven years and included a Division Two championship win in 1976 and promotion in the 1979-80 season.

Clarke, who was brought in to replace international centre-half Dave Watson, formed formidable defensive partnerships with first Bobby Moncur and then Shaun Elliott in his seven year stay on Wearside.

And he says learning from greats such as Moncur and Elliott was a huge benefit on his career, which spanned 11 years.

“I loved my time at Sunderland, it was perfect for me,” Clarke said. “At Manchester City I wasn’t wanted, I didn’t feel part of it, but at Sunderland I was welcomed from day one.

“In my first season we won the Division Two title and I played a lot with Bobby Moncur; he was such a big influence on my career because his ability and personality suited me so well.

“I would say my most comfortable time as a player for Sunderland was when I played with Shaun [Elliott] we complemented each other so well.

“I had strengths that were his weaknesses and vice-versa,” he continued. “We’re still good friends to this day and stay in touch.”

Clarke made the switch from Sunderland to Newcastle United in 1982 after injury curtailed his final season with the Black Cats.

And Clarke says although he didn’t expect to ever play for the Magpies after falling in love with Sunderland, it’s a time of his career he will look back on fondly.

“Alan Durban took charge of Sunderland and me and him didn’t really hit it off, not that I didn’t like him, we were just different characters,” he said.

“He didn’t really see the best of me due to my injury but I always felt I was good enough to still be important to a team and Newcastle gave me that opportunity.

“As with most things in football, it wasn’t planned, but I was confident I had a good season in me and Newcastle proved to be the destination.

“With Kevin Keegan joining there was no pressure on my move because all the attention was on him,” he continued.

“I won Player of the Month a couple of times and that gave me a feeling of justification, which was nice.”

Following spells with Brighton and Turkish side Ankaragucu as well as Whitley Bay, Clarke retired and took on coaching roles at Newcastle with both the reserves and youth team.

However he left Tyneside after a restructure and pursued a career in physiotherapy – a career he had been enthusiastic about since his days on the treatment table with former Sunderland physio Johnny Waters.

And Clarke is now working with Dundee United as Physio after working with both Sunderland and Leeds United.

“I did a bit of coaching when I finished but, to be honest, it was never for me,” Clarke added.

“Johnny Waters used to teach me the latin names for muscles and I went to Salford University to do a course with the PFA.

“I spent a few years at Sunderland before going to Leeds but I lost my job their when they had the financial trouble.

“I was lucky that an old friend of mine, Gordon Chisholm, was at Dundee United and I went up there to help out and I’m still here nearly ten years on.”