Sunderland supporters, especially those of a certain age, will associate one man with the title “the king”. That man being the Black Cats’ player of the 20th Century Charlie Hurley. However, there is a new king on Wearside. After his performances this season, his passion, skill and desire to do well, plus his stunning goal in the play-off semi-final win, Sunderland’s Chris Maguire is the current king of Wearside.
Sunderland’s Chris Maguire: The Current King of Wearside
Desire to Play for the Club
Maguire’s desire to play for Sunderland was evident early on. When Stewart Donald and Charlie Methvan took control of the Black Cats, Maguire was one of the first to contact them. His message was simple, “get me to Sunderland”.
Jack Ross said after his new signing arrived: “Chris was desperate to come here, and he will tell you this is the biggest club he’s played for. But he’s got a bit about him and as soon as he saw the stadium he said, ‘I’ll have a bit of this’.”
Stunning Performances and Goals
Maguire endeared himself to supporters very quickly. His performances on the pitch showed how much he wanted to do well. He was soon on the score sheet too, scoring some stunning goals. These goals saw him collect goal of the month awards.
His passion on the field was something fans loved more than anything else. After the disastrous seasons that preceded, where players had little interest in the club’s plight, Maguire’s passion matched those in the crowd.
Several times this season the forward has proved to be a game changer. When starting, a touch of brilliance to score a goal or create an assist has been the difference between three points or a draw instead of leaving with nothing.
Two stand out moments this season include his substitute appearance at home to Accrington Stanley. Coming on as a second-half sub, Sunderland were two goals down. He was a part of the goal to get the home side back into the game and then integral in the equaliser. He was at the heart of everything that was good about the Black Cats’ play.
Fast forward to the play-off semi-final against Portsmouth. Maguire had been missing after fracturing his leg and had just begun his comeback in the weeks beforehand. Jack Ross didn’t want to risk starting the forward so kept him on the bench. After a nervous first-half performance, Maguire came on as a second-half substitute.
Once again he changed the game. Coming on after 57 minutes, he scored a stunning goal five minutes later. The delight was there for all to see as Maguire, his teammates and fans alike celebrated. Once again he was at the heart of almost all of Sunderland’s attacks. He almost scored a second, the post denying him. At the end, he picked up the Man of the Match award.
His skill and passion has never been in question. One question that has loomed over him occasionally this season and in seasons at other clubs has been his attitude. Jack Ross dropped the fan favourite after being out of sorts. Reports suggested that he was unhappy with the decision and did not react in the right way. Soon after, he set out to prove Jack Ross wrong, something which the manager challenged him and anyone else to do.
Chris Maguire has already become the king of Wearside in the eyes of many. Should he display the right attitude and display the quality he has in many games this season, he could be Sunderland’s main man for the next two to three years.
Maguire, at 30-years-old and after playing for many clubs, may now have finally found his footballing home. Charlie Hurley was undoubtedly the King of the 20th Century. Chris Maguire could cement his place as the King of Sunderland for the 21st Century.
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