Has everyone thawed out from Monday night yet? No? Well what better way to warm the bones than a trip to Humberside (not the airport) in our final game before Christmas.
As with a great many clubs in the Championship, Sunderland and Hull have shared a veritable selection box of them, however, in this particular case, it’s a selection box exclusively filled with Fudge and Chomp bars – we all enjoy them, but deep down, we know they’re a bit crap.
I mean, we also shared Raich Carter, but where’s the fun in looking at a club legend when you can instead turn to…
There is simply no way to look beyond Jozy Altidore on the list of former Sunderland and Hull players.
Jozy had every physical attribute you’d wish for when looking for a centre forward to make the grade in the Premier League: tall, strong, at least some semblance of pace, and a goal scoring record not to be sniffed at. However, one thing Sunderland failed to recognise is that Jozy’s goals all came in the Eredivisie, the hiding place of such Premier League flops as Mateja Kezman, Marcus Allback and Afonso Alves.
Altidore’s career started in the MLS with New York Red Bulls, aged only 17, and scored an impressive 15 goals in 37 games. His form was rewarded with his first caps for the USA national team and an eye catching move to Villarreal for $10m, the most anyone had ever paid for an MLS player at the time. Although his game time in La Liga was limited to say the least, Jozy did at least manage to net his only league goal for the club against Deportivo la Coruna in September 2008.
Then, in August 2009, Altidore joined Premier League Hull City on loan for the season, getting an assist on his debut, and then scoring his first for the club against Southend in the cup a week later. However, in a pattern that would be repeated on Wearside, he then went almost six months before grabbing his next (any only league) goal for Hull, which was hilariously against Manchester City.
Altidore is arguably best remembered at Hull for getting into handbags with Sunderland’s Alan Hutton in a vital relegation six-pointer for the Tigers. Both men were sent off, Sunderland 1-0 and Hull were more or less relegated on the back of it. Lovely.
An uneventful spell with Bursaspor in Turkey followed, before Altidore moved to the Netherlands with AZ. I kid you not, but the American went on to score 39 goals in 67 games. Despite clearly taking place in fiction, this was enough for Sunderland to shell out £6.5m for him in July 2013.
Jozy looked the part, if a little dodgy with his finish on his debut against Fulham, but did manage a goal against MK Dons two games later. However, although it’s most definitely not true, to this day, I maintain that had Altidore’s effort when through on goal (and fouled) against Arsenal in only his third league outing had been allowed to stand, then he would have been at least…okay. Turns out though, that the goal was disallowed (nor was a red card given for denying a goal scoring opportunity…despite scoring. Great), and Altidore had to wait another three months before getting his first in the league for the Lads in a 3-4 loss to Chelsea.
Those two goals (plus one in the cup against Stoke the next season) are the entirety of Jozy’s scoresheet for Sunderland, which is incredible given he played 60 games for us in all competitions. To his credit though, Wearside will always think fondly of him for that entirely deliberate assist for Fabio Borini’s belter against Newcastle in October 2013. Fittingly, his last appearance for the Lads came in December 2014, in a grim 3-1 loss at home to Hull.
Then came the deal of the century, as in the January transfer window of 14/15 saw Altidore return to the MLS with Canadian side Toronto FC in a swap deal which brought Jermain Defoe to Wearside. Jozy went on to score 62 times in 139 games for Toronto, winning the MLS cup and a load of other made up accolades on the way, before moving on to New England Revolution in February of 2022, and he’s currently on loan to Mexican side Puebla.
Still only 33, Altidore is currently the ninth highest appearance maker, and second top goal scorer of all time for the USA, although he’s not appeared for his country since 2019, which is a shame, as Jozy could have made the Stupid World Cup even better this year. I for one loved Jozy Altidore, he was an absolute knacker, but kept giving you the false hope that one day, just one day, something would go in off his arse from two yards out and he’d be flying, unfortunately though, we know for a fact that wasn’t the case, see his miss against West Ham from precisely that distance.
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Something of a forgotten man of the Big Sam season of fun, Senegalese forward Dame N’Doye came and went from Wearside like the gingersnaps from a fancy Christmas hamper.
A proper Football Manager-level journeyman career saw N’Doye bounce from Jeanne d’Arc (Senegal), Al-Sadd (Qatar), Academica (Portugal), Panathinaikos and OFI (Greece), Copenhagen (Denmark) and Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia) before finding himself in the Premier League with Hull (…East Yorkshire) in February 2015.
A blistering goalscoring record for Copenhagen and Lokomotiv made this look a bit of a coup for Hull, however, they were managed by Steve Bruce that year, and were, of course, relegated. That’s not for want of trying from N’Doye, however, who did manage goals in wins against Aston Villa, QPR and Palace (a brace) as well as one in a 1-1 draw with Sunderland, so a turnaround of five in 15 for him looked good enough.
N’Doye sauntered off to Turkey following Hull’s relegation, but he was back in the Premier league not even a year later as he signed on loan for Sam Allardyce’s Sunderland in January 2016. Deployed more as a wide forward than a proper striker, N’Doye was largely forgettable without being awful for Sunderland (a key differential for some players), but he did manage one goal in his 11 games on Wearside, a highly debatable one credited to him against Crystal Palace as Sunderland stayed up and everything temporarily looked rosy for the club.
Come summer of 2016 and N’Doye was allowed to leave again where he headed back to Turkey with Trabzonspor before going back to Copenhagen. The final two seasons of his career saw N’Doye go absolutely ballistic, scoring 31 times in 47 games, winning the Danish Superliga in 2019 (the fourth of his career) before retiring in 2020.
He came, he saw, he apparently hated Crystal Palace.
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