Played For Both – Who wore the red and white, and also loved not finishing seasons?

Stephen Kennedy takes a look at the select band of players to represent Sunderland and Wycombe Wanderers in their careers

Wycombe Wanderers. Those car park selling out, “oh, we couldn’t possibly play any more league games, but play-offs are fine”, This Is Our House masters of the dark arts of football.

If you were to ask me when we fell into this utter shambles of a division which team I’d end up hating the most, I’d have struggled to really answer, as it’s difficult to really start a rivalry with service station towns. But here we are, not a rivalry by any stretch of the imagination, but we’ve found ourselves in the trap of hating Wycombe, just how they like it. The Buckinghamshire Millwall.

Formed in 1887, and presumably time wasting since 1903, Wanderers have spent the majority of their existence drifting between the third and fourth tiers, only really grabbing the headlines with their FA Cup and League Cup semi final appearances of the 2000s until Gareth “four buttons down” Ainsworth lead his band of merry blighters up to the Championship through¬†extremely morally squiffy means.

Thankfully, this has meant that we have shared very few players over the years, so let’s take a look at those who dared venture out across that sold out car park and headed North.

Luke O’Nien

The first of two current connections, it’s Sunderland’s hard working jack of all trades, Luke O’Nien. The midfielder, right back, centre back, left back made his name at Wycombe between 2015-18, sweeping up the leftovers of Wycombe’s very own battering ram, Adebayo Akinfenwa, he became a firm favourite of the Chairboys (weird nickname) before Signing for Jack Ross in Sunderland’s inaugural tour of misery in League One.

We don’t need to go into details on O’Nien’s Sunderland career; he’s been brilliant and he’s been awful, sometimes within the same match, but if anything, he’s been very dependable and always fully committed to the cause.

Away from any boring discussion about his actual footballing merit, he gave us two truly great moments in our recent history. First, being told that he might make it one day by an oblivious old timer on our Pints For Seats day. Second, nearly causing Lee Cattermole to fight an entire stand of ogres at Fratton Park.

But, his shoulder has fallen out, so he’s not playing this one, and as such we move on to his very antithesis.

Josh Scowen

Dear me. Where do you even start with Scowen? Signed from QPR, who play in a slightly less atrocious division, we all thought we were getting a tenacious, tough tackling, but at least somewhat able midfielder when Phil Parkinson signed him up in January 2020.

What we got instead was…imagine Kevin Kilbane, at his very worst, headless-chickening around the middle of the park, but two levels lower in the football pyramid. Whether he was badly managed or just entirely bereft of talent remains a relevant question, but Scowen’s key contributions to Sunderland were fouling everything that moved, taking a good corner against Aston Villa’s children and slicing clearances into immediate danger/his own goal.

Scowen’s overall ability can best be described as “he is currently in his second spell at Wycombe”.

I’m still not entirely sure if we’ve been pronouncing his name correctly, and that’d be bad enough in itself.