emerson thome

Cult Heroes: Emerson Thome

by Ashley Houghton

Spotlight on Brazilian defender.

Brazilian defender Emerson Thome joined the Black Cats in 2000 from Chelsea in search of first-team football after failing to break the partnership of Marcel Desailly and Frank Leboeuf at Stamford Bridge.

Peter Reid described Thome as "a very strong defender, who has great pace and is good in the air,” when he brought him to Wearside in 2000.

Reid was right, and, had Thome not been plagued with knee injuries during his time at the Stadium of Light, he would have gone on to make a lot more than his 53 appearances in the red and white stripes.

Thome was a dangerous presence at set-pieces; his two Sunderland goals were both scored with his head from Julio Arca deliveries.

His first for the Black Cats was a match-winner against Coventry City at the SoL, and it was during this era that Thome would become a Sunderland cult-hero; the 1-0 win over the Sky Blues was Sunderland’s fourth consecutive clean sheet and the Brazilian was playing a vital part alongside Jody Craddock.

The Brazilian’s second goal also came at the SoL on New Year’s Day 2002; he headed home an 86th-minute equaliser after Ian Taylor had put Aston Villa ahead.

Thome made 30 league appearances in his first campaign on Wearside but injuries prevented him from making substantial additions to that number; in his final two seasons with the club he played only 20 games which resulted in the Brazilian moving on to Bolton Wanderers at the end of the 2002-03 campaign.

Thome went on to have spells with Wigan Athletic, Derby County and Vissel Kobe before taking on a scouting role with Everton in 2008.