Sunderland has played in League One for four seasons and experienced back-to-back relegations.’

However, the Black Cats are now aiming for a more inconspicuous mid-table place this season after finishing in the top six in the Championship the previous time around.

Although it’s been a consistent season, altogether it’s been a disappointing one, which illustrates the rising expectations under Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, the stadium’s owner.

After some lackluster campaigns and performances in recent memory, Sunderland supporters are hoping for better times ahead.

Here, we examine the current whereabouts of Sunderland’s ten lowest-rated players during the previous ten years.

Note: WhoScored’s ranking is based on players who have made 10 or more appearances in a single season.

Darron Gibson

In January 2017, Darron Gibson, a former international for Northern Ireland, signed with Sunderland alongside Bryan Oviedo, leaving Everton.

However, his tenure at Wearside would be brief, as it was terminated early in 2018 by mutual consent.

His average rating during the relegation season of 2016–17 was a pitiful 6.32; he most recently disclosed his struggles with addiction off the field while playing for League Two Salford City.

Robbin Ruiter


Middlesbrough v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

The towering goalkeeper Robin Ruiter joined Sunderland in 2017 following a trial period with the team.

Ruiter, though, would make 20 appearances and record just five clean sheets in Sunderland’s 2017–18 campaign, their second consecutive relegation campaign.

His season-long average rating on WhoScored was 6.3. A few weeks ago, he announced his retirement from football, having played his last game for FC Nordsjaelland in the Netherlands.

Wahbi Khazri

75-cap Wahbi Khazri, an international for Tunisia, joined Sunderland in the middle of the 2015–16 campaign.

However, it was his performance in the subsequent 2016–17 Premier League season that was so lacking; in 21 games, the attacking midfielder scored just once, and the Black Cats were demoted from the top division.

Khazri was rated 6.29 that season, however he has since played in Ligue 1 with St Etienne and Montpellier, where he is still a player now.

Steven Pienaar


AFC Bournemouth v Sunderland - Premier League

The legendary Steven Pienaar of South Africa ended a very successful career with a very turbulent time at Sunderland.

Additionally, he signed on for the 2016–17 campaign. In his fifteen Premier League games, he failed to score, therefore he played one more season, this time with Bidvest Wits in his home country of South Africa.

Since then, Pienaar has focused on coaching. He has worked as a youth coach with Ajax and Sharjah in the UAE.

Pienaar’s rating at Sunderland was 6.28.

Will Buckley

In the summer of 2014, Sunderland signed Will Buckley.

He reconnected with Gus Poyet, the former Brighton manager, after Sunderland allegedly paid £2.5 million to bring the two together.

However, this would be the start of the end for Buckley, who would wind up spending the majority of his time at Sunderland on loan after failing to score in 24 appearances overall in 2014–15.

Buckley, who had a 6.25 rating at Sunderland, retired in 2020 and founded his own sports agency.

Will Grigg

Undoubtedly, Wil Grigg is among the greatest failures in Sunderland’s history.

In order to get him, Sunderland shattered the League One transfer record, reportedly paying Wigan Athletic £3 million.

But Grigg only managed five goals in 47 league games for the Black Cats.

He received an average rating of just 6.21 for his 2018–19 season’s play, although he has since found his scoring form again in the National League with Chesterfield.

He is the second-highest scorer in the league with 24 goals this season.

Josh Maja


Walsall v Sunderland: The Emirates FA Cup Second Round

Josh Maja was in several academies prior to being given his opportunity at Sunderland, where he made his first-team debut in the 2-16/17 campaign.

Although he would go on to have a successful career in League One, his first full season in the Championship was marked by difficulties; he only scored once in 17 games and had an average rating of 6.2.

In 2018, he moved to Bordeaux and had a good five years there before coming back on loan to Fulham and Stoke City.

His current team is West Brom.

Lee Camp

Lee Camp participated in football for all teams in the Football League, including Sunderland, for which he played on loan during the relegation-filled 2017–18 Championship season.

He played in just 12 league games for the Black Cats, finishing the season with a very disappointing 6.19 rating.

At 39 years old, Camp is employed by Blackpool as a youth coach.

Danny Graham

Except for Sunderland, Danny Graham was a prolific striker for every team he played for.

After his goal-scoring prowess at Swansea City, the Wearsiders paid £5 million to sign the Scot for his first of two periods with Sunderland, which began in the 2015–16 campaign.

But right away, Graham struggled. In his three seasons at the team, he scored one goal in 42 games while spending time on loan.

His 2015–16 season performances were good enough for a 6.17.

After rejoining Sunderland for a second time in 2021, he retired and went on to work as a freelance football advisor.

Jozy Altidore

In his native country, legendary American striker Jozy Altidore is warmly regarded. Not so much on British soil, though.

After his scoring run with AZ in the Netherlands, Sunderland welcomed him to England in 2013. However, in just two seasons, the now 34-year-old would score three goals overall and just one in the Premier League.

His average rating for the 2014–15 season was 6.15.

After Altidore was traded from the Black Cats to Toronto in 2015, he went on to score 79 goals in seven MLS seasons.

After spending six months on loan with Mexican team Puebla in 2022, Altidore is currently without a club and appears to have retired.

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