Played For Both Sides – The SAFC academy product plying his trade at Morecambe

Stephen Kennedy takes a look at the remaining player to have played for Sunderland and Morecambe

The end is nigh! With only one game to go, this stupid division we find ourselves in has served up some true insanity, as of the 24 losers in this league, only Crewe are secure in their position, all nice and toasty in last place. Every other team in this ridiculous competition can change position, which, unfortunately also means we could either very much be in the play offs, or finish seventh and be very sad.

Standing in our way is the mighty Morecambe, who themselves might need to win to confirm survival, and given that they’re armed with League One’s very own Lancashire Dennis Bergkamp in Cole Stockton, this might be a trickier affair than we’d like.

Not as tricky as finding more players who’ve lined up for both Sunderland and Morecambe, that is. In our last meeting, we uncovered Neil Wainwright and Alan Kennedy (sort of), and at the time of writing, those two made up the entire list of players to have held the honours of playing for both teams.

But wait! Clearly sensing this article being in distress, Morecambe boss Stephen Robinson took it upon himself to loan in the sole star of today’s edition. Robinson promptly left the Shrimps to take over at St. Mirren, but I’m sure that’s entirely unrelated.

Trevor Carson

So here he is, the saviour of today’s content, it’s Northern Ireland international goalkeeper, and former Sunderland academy graduate, Trevor Carson. Turning professional back in 2007, Carson had the thankless task of playing third/fourth choice behind names such as Craig Gordon, Darren Ward, Simon Mignolet and, inexplicably, Nick Colgan. As such, Carson’s five-year stay at Sunderland was largely spent on loan, with stints at Chesterfield, Lincoln, Brentford (oh how things have changed there), Bury, Hull and Bury again.

Never quite making it beyond the bench in a handful of games, Trevor went through his entire Sunderland career without being able to make a single appearance, and so he was released when his contract expired in May 2012. From there, Carson signed permanently for Bury and quickly established himself as their number one, though in a truly on brand move (for both Sunderland players and Bury), the Shakers were relegated from League One in his first season.

Injuries then limited Carson’s time in the fourth tier with Bury, as did their signings of three other keepers (including the somehow still playing Brian Jensen), so out on loan he went again, this time with Portsmouth, as Pompey were enduring their bottoming-out period of financial madness, finishing 13th in League Two.

Released from Bury in 2014, Carson joined Cheltenham Town, played all 46 league games and won the club’s Player of the Year. Quite the turnaround, no? Well not quite, as the Robins also finished 23rd and were relegated out of the football league that same season. The next move for Carson came in summer of 2015, as he returned to the North East with Hartlepool and he had a stormer, making 34 appearances, winning the club’s Player of the Year award and this time, avoiding relegation, hurrah! Well, not quite, as in his second season, injuries took their toll, and Pools were relegated to the National League in 2017.

Onwards Carson went, and up into the SPL with Motherwell. His four seasons just outside of Glasgow were again mixed with good form and injuries, but thankfully for him, no relegations. More noteworthy though, is that his performances finally awarded him his first cap for Northern Ireland in 2018, just the eight years after his first senior call up. After four years and 57 appearances for Motherwell, Carson departed for Dundee United in summer 2021, but after being limited to only four games in the first half of the season found himself going out on loan to the mighty Morecambe.

So far his Shrimps career has gone about as expected for Morecambe’s season as a whole – winning only four of his 16 appearances to date, and keeping only two clean sheets in that time, but then again, Morecambe aren’t especially known for their defensive solidity.

However, the goalkeeper will forever be included on this season’s highlights reel (depressing) for a truly ridiculous save he made against Oxford at the start of April, which helped Morecambe secure a vital 2-1 for them, and deal a massive blow to Oxford’s play-off chances. So you could argue that the best thing Carson ever managed to achieve for Sunderland came a decade after he left, in our awful race to lose the playoffs in the third tier again. Sad again, now.