Who needs Cantona when we've got Dickie Ord?
Richard ‘Dickie’ Ord was a boyhood Sunderland fan who fulfilled his lifelong dream of playing for the Black Cats in November 1987.
A 17-year-old Ord played 68 minutes as Eric Gates scored four goals to help Sunderland on their way to a 7-0 victory over Southend United at Roker Park.
Paul Atkinson scored twice, whilst Marco Gabbiadini also notched as Ord got off to a winning start in the famous red and white stripes.
And, though the result suggests a comfortable debut for the Murton-born defender, he told safc.com it was far from easy.
“I think the best memory was my debut,” Ord said.
“Winning 7-0 was great in my first game but it certainly didn’t feel easy; I think I was in the toilet for the manager’s team talk.”
Ord, who played 283 games for the Black Cats, feels the best team he played in during his 11 years on Wearside was Peter Reid’s 1995-96 promotion-winning side.
“The team that went up in the 1995-96 season was first-class; to be promoted to the Premier League was a fantastic achievement,” he added.
“Reidy came in and we had fantastic team spirit; we didn’t bring anybody in barring Paul Stewart on loan, so it was a bunch of lads who got on really well.
“It was even more special because the season before we were nearly relegated to Division Two.”
The ‘Dicky Ord Song’ was a show of affection from the Black Cats faithful for one of their own as Ord was an instant hit with the Wearside fans.
And Ord says the club’s fans will always hold a special place in his heart.
“I started well at Sunderland so the fans were instantly behind me,” Ord explained.
“I went through a couple of dodgy spells where I didn’t play so well but they still stuck by me to be fair.
“When I come back to the Stadium of Light or see fans about they always make me feel welcome.
“’Who needs Cantona’ has stuck with me and its part of the club’s history – which is nice.”
Ord left Sunderland for QPR in 1998 after suffering the disappointment of not being involved in the play-off final.
And, in hindsight, Ord wishes he never left Wearside as injuries prevented him from making a single appearance for the Hoops.
“I didn’t want to leave – I spat my dummy out because I wasn’t involved in the play-off final squad,” Ord said.
“I thought I should have started so I was bitterly disappointed not to be in the squad.
“Reidy has since sent me a letter telling me it was his biggest mistake in football.”
Since his retirement Ord has been manager at Durham City as well as taking up coaching with the Soccarena Academy in Durham.
“I managed Durham City and played on and off for quite a while, we got to the semi-finals of the FA Vase in 2001-02 which was a good achievement.
“I’ve also been coaching kids at Soccarena in Durham; it’s football and I love the game so I always want to be involved.”