Born on this day is former Sunderland striker Kyle Lafferty. The target man joined the lads in League One on a short-term deal under Phil Parkinson.
Lafferty began his career at Burnley, where he scored his first goal for the Clarets in a 1-1 draw with Luton Town in 2006. He spent three years at Turf Moor, including a brief loan spell at Darlington. He then joined Rangers in 2008, which is arguably where he’s most remembered for. The Northern Ireland international racked up over 100 appearances for Rangers, where he bagged 31 league goals. The first of which came in his second game for The Gers, in a 2-0 win over Hearts.
In September 2010, Lafferty scored the first hat trick of his career. It came in a 7-2 thrashing of Dunfermline in the League Cup. He was a crucial figure throughout the season as Rangers won thew league and their third consecutive title. Following the liquidation and subsequent restructure of Rangers in 2012, Lafferty left the club on a free transfer and joined Swiss club Sion. However, he was unable to play initially because of a contract dispute with Rangers owner Charlie Green.
After just a year in Switzerland, the Northern Irishman went to Palermo. Despite winning Fans’ Player of the Year, and Palermo being crowned Serie B champions, Lafferty was pushed out of the club. Chairman Maurizio Zamparini claimed that Laffertyy was an “out of control womaniser” and his lifestyle led to his transfer back to Norwich. The Canaries were in the Championship, pushing for promotion to the top-flight.
Lafferty was a flop on Carrow Road, scoring just twice in 31 appearances. He was sent to Turkey on loan in February 2015, with Norwich winning promotion at the end of the season. Lafferty was given a play-off winner’s medal because of playing the first half of the season, but it seemed to stir up a lot of controversy. Norwich fans spotted the medal on eBay, with suggestions that Lafferty had put it online to sell for £380! The striker was quick to deny the claims though.
After an underwhelming spell in England, the journeyman forward returned to Scotland with Hearts and then a spell with his former club Rangers, before catching the eye of Phil Parkinson in January 2020. He became the first signing of the Parkinson era, which as we all know was very successful. The signing was announced in controversial fashion, with Sunderland tweeting “He’s 7 foot and he plays the flute”, which was swiftly deleted. He made his debut for the lads as a sub in a 1-0 win over MK Dons, and scored both of his goals in red and white in the same match. It was a 2-2 draw with Gillingham, and was Lafferty’s first Sunderland start. His first goal was a header, and the second a fine finish after being set through on goal by George Dobson of all people.
If we’d have held onto the win, we might have been promoted on points per game rather than missing out on the play-offs after a late equaliser from Mikael Mandron. The draw was the second-last game before our disappointing season was curtailed due to Coronavirus. Upon his contract expiring, Lafferty joined Kilmarnock where he scored a sensational 12 goals in 8 games! He’s now at Anorthosis Famagusta in Cyprus, where he had just played a handful of games.