Our most recent new face on Wearside is 26 year keeper Remi Matthews who has again signed on a free after leaving relegated League 1 side Bolton Wanderers in the Summer, the Norfolk born shot stopper has signed a two year deal for Sunderland and will hopefully provide stiff competition for Lee Burge.
Matthews started his career at boyhood club Norwich City, being born just down the road from Carrow Road, near Great Yarmouth, he spent plenty time starting between the sticks for Norwich’s academy side before two different short term loans with Burton Albion, then enjoying football in League 2 which amounted to a total three cup appearances and one league start as well as once coming off the bench for the Brewers in the 2015/16 campaign at the Pirelli Stadium. From there he enjoyed a more fruitful loan spell at the Keepmoat with Doncaster towards the tail end of that same campaign before he really got some first team football north of the border with Hamilton Academical.
His time in the Scottish Premiership for Martin Canning’s men yielded a total of 17 league starts in the season as well as 10 appearances in other competitions for the Accies at New Douglas Park as they secured top flight football for a fourth consecutive SPL season.
After impressing in Scotland, he was courted by Plymouth Argyle which he helped to a 7th place finish in League 1, narrowly missing out on the play-offs in the 2017/18 campaign to Charlton Athletic by just three points. Matthews started 26 times in the league that season for the Pilgrims as well as making an appearance in the FA Cup also, in a run that ended at Home Park against Liverpool after forcing a replay in the initial tie at Anfield.
The next season would be his final few months as a Canary, after spending the first half of the campaign on loan at the Macron Stadium with Bolton, he joined the Trotters permanently in the January of 2019, ending a five year professional contract with Norwich, although he never actually wore a Norwich shirt at senior level. As a permanent player for Bolton, he made over 50 starts in two seasons for Phil Parkinson and then veteran coach Keith Hill. Last season Matthews was between the sticks when we travelled to Bolton for a match that finished 1-1 with centre half Jack Hobbs opening the scoring and Aiden McGeady salvaging a point from the spot in injury time, he then kept a clean sheet on Boxing Day at the Stadium of Light in a game where the deadlock just couldn’t be broken.
Now Parkinson has reunited with his former goalie after he was released by the Lancashire club in June following their ongoing financial problems and subsequent relegation to England’s fourth tier.
His first interview after signing for us, Matthews said that “Everybody knows how big this club is and I’ve worked with the manager and the backroom staff before, so nobody had to sell it to me – it was a no-brainer. I’m delighted to get the deal over the line and I’m excited to get going” with boss Phil Parkinson saying “this is a big signing for us because we have been trying to sign a goalkeeper and that process became very complicated due to the salary cap situation. Remi is a player with good experience but at 26, he’s at a good age with plenty of improvement in him as well.”