We profile select group who've played for both clubs.
KIERAN RICHARDSON (SAFC 2007-12, FFC 2012- )
Richardson signed for the Black Cats on a four-year contract from Manchester United in the summer of 2007. The left-sided player made a good start to life at the Stadium of Light and wrote his name into Sunderland folklore by scoring the winning goal, a thumping free kick, in the Wear-Tyne derby at the Stadium of Light in October 2008.
Richardson was a versatile player during his time on Wearside, playing in a number of different positions including left wing, left back and central midfield. The former Manchester United trainee moved to Craven Cottage this summer, and scored his first goal for the club against Southampton in October.
KEVIN BALL (SAFC 1990-99, FFC 1999-00)
No-nonsense midfielder Ball joined Sunderland from Portsmouth in 1990 and went on to become one of the club’s best-loved players. He played almost 400 games for the club in all competitions and won two Division 1 titles (in 1995-96 and 1998-99) as captain. He took over the armband from Gary Bennett in 1995 and remained as skipper until he departed for Craven Cottage in 1999.
Ball played one season at Craven Cottage, as the side finished a respectable 9th place in their first season back in the First Division. After new manager Jean Tigana arrived in 2000, Ball departed on a free transfer to Burnley.
Ball returned to the Stadium of Light as a coach after retiring, and became caretaker manager after the departure of Mick McCarthy in 2006. Ball remains a part of the backroom staff at the Stadium of Light to this day. His current role is Sunderland’s Senior Professional Development Coach, in charge of the club’s under-21 side.
STEED MALBRANQUE (FFC 2001-06, SAFC 2008-11)
The diminutive midfielder joined Fulham from Lyon in 2001, becoming a fans’ favourite in his five years at the club. He had a prolific second season for Fulham, grabbing 13 goals in all competitions including a hat-trick in the FA Cup against Charlton. He moved to Tottenham Hotspur on the 2006 summer transfer deadline day.
After two years at White Hart Lane, Malbranque signed a four year contract at the Stadium of Light in the summer of 2008. He played over 100 games for the Black Cats enjoying his best form in a Sunderland shirt during the 2009-10 season. He moved back to France with AS Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2011.
LOUIS SAHA (FFC 2000-04, SAFC 2012- )
After a loan spell at Newcastle in 1999, Saha joined Fulham on a permanent deal from Metz a year later. He was an instant hit at Craven Cottage, scoring 27 goals in their promotion campaign from the Championship.
Saha grabbed a few crucial goals in his opening season in the top flight, including two against Manchester United and a brace against Chelsea. Saha grabbed 15 goals in 22 games at the beginning of the 2003-04 season before being snapped up by Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
After spells at Everton and Tottenham, Saha arrived at the Stadium of Light on a free transfer this summer.
CLIVE WALKER (SAFC 1984-86, FFC 1987-90)
Tricky winger Clive Walker moved from Chelsea to Sunderland at the end of the 1983-84 season and returned to haunt his old side the following season in the Milk Cup semi-finals. Walker inspired the Black Cats to a 5-2 aggregate win but missed a penalty in the final as Sunderland lost 1-0 to Norwich City.
Walker moved to Fulham in 1987, after a single season at QPR, making over 100 appearances for the Cottagers and contributing a respectable 29 goals during his three years at the club. He remains one of only three players to have played for the West London trio of Chelsea, Fulham and QPR.