My #1: Sess

November 29, 2018

 

Choosing my favourite ever player was an incredibly tough task, I looked back and thought about which players got under my skin. I've been a season ticket holder for around a decade now and during the period, there have been some brilliant players. The likes of Steed Malbranque, Darren Bent, Lee Cattermole and Jermain Defoe were all under consideration. However, there was just something about Stephane Sessegnon which put him above the rest.  

 

The attacking midfielder wasn't the best player we've had and was inconsistent, but boy he was as just a joy to watch. Not often are Sunderland blessed with players who get you off your seat whenever they get the ball. When Sessegnon got the ball in the final third you expected the unexpected.

 

One of the most disappointing parts of his career was out of his control and that was that he was signed just after Darren Bent left the club. What I would have given to see Sessegnon playing behind Bent. The Benin international was a player who was perhaps too good for us and probably would have been suited playing for a team who dominated possession. Sadly, he had to play often behind Nicklas Bendtner who wasn't quite at the level of Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan

 

When I think back to my fondest memories of the mercurial attacker, his low centre of gravity and his ability to glide past players was his stand out trait. His goal against QPR away where he ran through on goal and just sold Paddy Kenny a dream as he went around the keeper to score. His best goal must be his wonder goal against Swansea, I'm still not sure how he managed to curl the ball into the top right corner from such a tight angle. However, my favourite goal of his was his strike in a 3-0 win against Norwich; he nutmegged Bradley Johnson and played a perfect ball out to Frazier Campbell, who returned it back to Sess to nod it home. He began in his own half and played a perfect one-two with Campbell and it was the way he effortlessly got past players which made me stand back in awe of the brilliance of the Beninese talent.

 

He was furiously inconsistent at times, but he played a huge part in of one of the greatest games in Sunderland's recent history; the first of the 3-0 victories at St James Park. We all love a derby win, but this one was different. We hammered them in their own back yard before they quite got used to us smashing them every time they faced us. Sessegnon got us underway and he was simply on another level. He got man of the match and absolutely dominated the game, it was one of those magic games where he could do nothing wrong and had Steven Taylor on toast.

 

Sessegnon was the type of player that drew young fans into the stadium and then tried to copy after in the park with their friends. His ability was far superior for the level of our club and as his chant goes, he was a mix of Pele and Messi. He was that sort of player that is a rare occurrence in the North East, he was our luxury player. 

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At the back end of the 1980s, football fanzines began to sweep the country and in 1989 we were presented with a new vehicle on which to enjoy some of this ride – A Love Supreme. ALS was a place we could all go to celebrate and commiserate being a Sunderland fan. Win, lose or draw, the pages of the fanzine became solace for many of us as we stumbled our way through our day to day lives, punctuated by the ups and downs of more match days than any of us care to remember.

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