Sunderland is a traditional club for the English top division, having won the championship six times, in 1893, 1894, 1895, 1902, 1913 and 1936. The club finished second in the first division five times, in 1894, 1898, 1901, 1923 and 1935. In addition, Sunderland won the FA Cup two times, in 1937 and 1973, losing the final in 1913 and 1992.
Sunderland also missed on its only chance to win the League Cup, in 1985, when it was defeated by Norwich City in the final. Nicknamed “The Black Cats”, Sunderland was founded in 1879 and since then the team established itself as one of the most prestigious football clubs in England.
The team plays its home fixtures on the Stadium of Light, with a 49.000 capacity, since 1997. With a cost of 24 million pounds to construct, this arena is the fifth largest capacity stadium in England. Until the opening of the Stadium of Light, Sunderland's home venue was Roker Park, with a 22.500 capacity. The Stadium of Light also hosted to international matches for England.
Since 1898, Sunderland has a bitter rivalry with Newcastle United, the match between these team being named the Tyne-Wear derby. The first win in 28 years for Sunderland in this derby came in in the 2008-2009 season, when they finally managed to beat Newcastle. An important and unique award won by a Sunderland player is that of Kevin Phillips, who won the European Golden Shoe in 2000, after scoring 30 goals.
Sunderland has a partnership agreement with Ghanaian team Asante Kotoko. The club has an extensive fanbase that goes from England to the US, Australia, Canada and even Cambodia. Sunderland also has an official magazine called the “Legion of Light”, in connection to the name of the team's home ground, the “Stadium of Light”. Season ticked holders don't have to pay a dime for this magazine, receiving with charge free due to their status.
The most appearances record for Sunderland is held by Jimmy Montgomery, who played 527 games for “The Black Cats” between 1961 and 1976. Charlie Buchan is the team's all-time greatest goal scorer, after netting 209 goals between 1911 and 1925. Irish defender John O'Shea is the club's most capped player, having appeared in 70 matches for his country. The biggest transfer fee ever received by Sunderland was 24 million pounds, in 2011, when striker Darren Bent left for Aston Villa. On the other side, the biggest transfer fee ever paid by Sunderland was in 2012, for Scottish striker Steven Fletcher, who came from Wolverhampton. The biggest ever transfer fee received by the team for a player from its own academy was 20 million pounds, in 2011, when Jordan Henderson move to Liverpool.
The club's biggest ever win was recorded against a non-league team, Fair Field, in the FA Cup, with the match ending 11-1. Sunderland's biggest loss happened in 1911, 1968 and 1982, 0-8 against Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham United and Watford.
Currently, Sunderland has a decent squad with quite a few names standing out. Among them we can find former Manchester United defender Wes Brown, former Manchester United striker Fraizer Campbell, Scottish forward James McFadden, Irish defender John O'Shea, Scottish striker Steven Fletcher, former Manchester City midfielder Adam Johnson, French striker Louis Saha and Scottish defender Phil Bardlsey.
Having a pretty good team Sunderland is expected to avoid relegation and obtain a reasonable mid-half position at the end of the season.