Emerson Thome

Retro Red and White

by Stuart Vose

We look back on issue from Blues' visit in 2000.

The programme for the visit of Chelsea in October 2000 was as packed as ever as the Black Cats looked to push on after taking nine points from their first eight games.

They did so thanks to a lone goal from Kevin Phillips, who scored from the penalty spot just after the hour.

The Chelsea squad of 2000 featured the likes of Roberto Di Matteo, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and even a young John Terry as new boss Claudio Ranieri made his way through the early days of an ultimately successful reign.

New Sunderland defender Emerson Thome (pictured) was also still settling in following his move north from Stamford Bridge.

“The first few games with a new club are never easy,” he said in an exclusive interview. “You have to find your feet and work out how the team is going to play.

“It takes time to introduce yourself to the squad and the team to work out what is needed to improve things.

“I have started to feel a part of it and feel more comfortable and I think it has shown in my performances in the last few games. They have been better and I am happy with that.”

Meanwhile Darren Holloway also featured following his £1.3m move to Wimbledon, while Michael Gray was revealed as Sunderland’s player of the month.

There was also a nod towards the future as Professor David Bellamy was pictured planting an oak tree at the site which would later become the club’s new training HQ, the Academy of Light.

Meanwhile centre poster star Jody Craddock revealed he was hoping to extend his stay at the Stadium of Light.

The defender admitted he was playing for his future on Wearside, adding: “I’d love a new contract but I know that the first team is the only place to be at Sunderland.

“Of course that is my aim and all I can do is do my best when I’m selected.”