I played for Sunderland over 200 times and know what the club means to people

Ex-Sunderland goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen wants to see the club back in the Premier League and stated, “fingers crossed it will happen in the next two to three years.” The 47-year-old played close to 200 games for the Black Cats between 1998 and 2003 and was a firm fans’ favourite.

The former shot-stopper still has fond memories of his time on Wearside and would love the club to progress following a disappointing season.

“Having played there I know what the club means to people,” he told OLBG. “I think so many people have watched Sunderland ‘Til I Die as well, but it’s not that easy sometimes. I think that documentary showed that there’s a lot of things that need to come together. Obviously, the owners, the manager, the finances, everything.

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“They’re getting closer. I think this season they were close and faded a little bit. Hopefully they can start building. It looks to be a stable ownership, which is great. I would love to see Sunderland back in the Premier League, I know how much it will mean to the people out there and fingers crossed it is the next two or three years.”

When Sorenson signed for Sunderland hardly anyone outside of Denmark had heard of the tall and athletic keeper. It was Peter Reid who bought the then 22-year-old from Odense for about £510,000 in July 1998.

He was recommended to the club by Peter Schmeichel and was brought in to replace another favourite, Lionel Pérez, who left on a free transfer. This move helped Sunderland to promotion to the Premier League when Sørensen and his team grabbed the Championship title in 1999. Sorensen smashed the club’s clean sheet record with 29 clean sheets in the process.

Sorensen established himself as Sunderland’s starting goalkeeper in the Premiership, and helped the club finish seventh in both of their two first Premiership seasons. He gained legendary status with Sunderland fans in 2001, when he saved a penalty kick from Alan Shearer in the dying moments of a November 2000 game, to preserve a valuable win over their arch-rivals and rivals Newcastle United.

After relegation, and against a background of financial worries at the club, Sunderland sold Sorensen for £2 million to Aston Villa who had held off interest from a handful of other clubs, including Manchester United and Arsenal.