On Saturday, Sunderland suffered an embarrassing 5-1 Championship defeat to Stoke City. Not only was it the first time that former Black Cats manager Alex Neil returned to the Stadium of Light, to a very frosty reception after the way he left the club for the Potters earlier this season, but two of Stoke’s goals were scored by former Newcastle striker Dwight Gayle.
Gayle, who scored 34 goals in 122 games for the Magpies, including 23 in 32 during their Championship campaign in 2016/17, had only scored once in his first 27 league appearances for Stoke before the weekend. However, his brace, including a viral Newcastle-related celebration for his first goal, helped Stoke to their second away win in a row.
But Gayle isn’t the first ex-Magpie to net against Sunderland after leaving St. James’ Park. Here are 15 other players that have achieved this feat:
Nicknamed ‘Sir Les’ by the Geordie faithful, Ferdinand enjoyed a hugely successful spell over two years on Tyneside, scoring 50 goals in 84 games, and established a fantastic partnership with Alan Shearer in his second season after his world-record transfer from Blackburn. However, he would join boyhood club Tottenham in 1997. After a derby-day goal for the Magpies in September 1996, Ferdinand would score his second goal against Sunderland, this time for Spurs in a 2-1 win in March 2002.
A Newcastle academy product, Chopra spent several seasons on Tyneside but could never claim a regular first-team slot. In 2006, he was sold to Cardiff, and in his debut season in South Wales, he scored 22 Championship goals, including a brace at the Stadium of Light in a 2-1 away win for the Bluebirds. Chopra would actually go on to join Sunderland the next summer after their promotion back to the Premier League, before rejoining Cardiff.
After joining from Ipswich in 2003, Ambrose spent two years on Tyneside, making over 50 appearances for the club in all competitions before joining Charlton. In his debut season at The Valley, Ambrose would score the second in a 2-0 win over the Black Cats in December 2005. The first Charlton goal that day was scored by another Darren, future Sunderland star Darren Bent.
Milner, who played for Newcastle between 2004 and 2008, has had a phenomenal career since leaving Tyneside, including two goals against his former rivals. He scored a late third goal for Manchester City in a routine 3-0 home win over Sunderland in October 2012. His second goal was another late strike, a stoppage-time penalty for Liverpool in a 2-0 victory at Anfield in November 2016.
Now best known for his presenting gig on The One Show, Jenas enjoyed a successful spell on Tyneside, making 152 appearances over three-and-a-half years before joining Tottenham Hotspur in 2005. It was at Spurs where he would net his first career goal against Sunderland, although this was in a 2-1 home defeat in August 2008. His second against them was in more pleasant circumstances, scoring in a 3-1 win for QPR against the Black Cats in March 2013.
Bellamy became a key figure up top for the Magpies in the early 2000’s. He would score a goal in the Tyne-Wear derby in only his second league appearance for the club. He would then be sold to Blackburn Rovers in 2005. In February 2006, Bellamy scored both goals for Rovers in a 2-0 win over Sunderland. After joining West Ham from Liverpool in 2007, Bellamy would score again against the Black Cats, scoring the third in stoppage time in a 3-1 win for the Hammers in October 2007. The Welshman would then join newly-rich Manchester City in January 2009, and in December that year he would come back to haunt Sunderland again, bagging a goal and two assists in an enthralling 4-3 victory for the Citizens.
Nolan made his name under Sam Allardyce at Bolton Wanderers before joining Newcastle in January 2009. Despite getting relegated that season, Nolan stayed on Tyneside and established a formidable partnership with a young Andy Carroll which helped the Magpies to bounce straight back up to the top-flight. Nolan famously scored a hat-trick, and introduced his famous chicken celebration, in a 5-1 demolition of the Black Cats in their first season back. At the start of the 2011/12 season, he would again drop down to the Championship by joining West Ham and would again achieve promotion that season, this time through the playoffs. In September 2012, Nolan would frustrate the Sunderland faithful again, scoring a last-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Upton Park.
Another academy product, Carroll scored 11 goals in 19 games for the Magpies in the first half of the 2010/11 season before joining Liverpool for £35m, a record fee for a British player at the time. However, his spell on Merseyside was disappointing and in 2012, he went out on loan to newly-promoted West Ham, reuniting with former Newcastle teammate Nolan, before making the move permanent a year later. In March 2014, Carroll scored West Ham’s first goal in a 2-1 away win at the Stadium of Light. Not only that, the Hammers’ second would be scored by a future Newcastle player in the form of Mohamed Diame.
Despite Remy making a big impact during a half-season at QPR, including a goal against Sunderland in a 3-1 victory, they would be relegated. Newcastle would then sign Remy on loan for the 2013/14 season. He scored 14 goals in 26 league games for the Magpies, but they were unable to make the move permanent. Chelsea swooped in for Remy the season after. Despite not having many chances to impress at Stamford Bridge, Remy would score twice against the Black Cats on the final day of the 14/15 season as Chelsea lifted the Premier League title under Jose Mourinho.
Gosling joined Newcastle in 2010 from Everton after showing significant promise on Merseyside, including a Premier League goal against Sunderland in 2008. However, after only a handful of appearances over four years, Gosling joined Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth, and achieved promotion from the Championship in his first season with the Cherries. Gosling scored his second career goal against the Black Cats in a 2-1 defeat in November 2016. However, Gosling has also scored twice against Newcastle since his departure, his first in a 2-2 home draw in February 2018, and his second in a 4-1 home defeat in July 2020 during the first Covid lockdown.
After playing his part in Newcastle’s successful 2016/17 Championship campaign, scoring five in 15 league appearances that season, Murphy would be let go after just one season to join Nottingham Forest. In September 2017, he would score a late winner for Forest against Sunderland, who he also represented from 2005 to 2010.
Murphy wasn’t the only ex-Magpie to score against the Black Cats in 2017/18. Sammy Ameobi, whose brother Shola became a cult hero on Tyneside, being nicknamed the ‘Mackem Slayer’ after several Tyne-Wear derby goals, continued his brother’s legacy by scoring the first goal for Bolton in a 3-3 draw on Halloween 2017. The second Bolton goalscorer that day also has a local connection; Gateshead-born Gary Madine.
Mitrovic joined Newcastle in 2015, and scored the equaliser in a 1-1 Tyne-Wear derby draw in March 2016 to end Sunderland’s six-game winning streak in the fixture. Although technically still a Newcastle player at the time, Mitrovic would score his second against the Black Cats whilst on loan at Fulham in a 2-1 win in April 2018. After achieving promotion via the playoffs, Mitrovic would join Fulham permanently later that year.
Toney made just four appearances for Newcastle over three years, and was loaned out six times before joining Peterborough United permanently in 2018. Toney scored a late equaliser for the Posh at the Stadium of Light in a 2-2 draw in October 2018. Toney has had a meteoric rise since then, joining Brentford in 2020 and scoring 31 goals in the Championship that season to help Brentford reach the Premier League via the playoffs. This season, he has scored 14 in 21 Prem games, but is currently embroiled in a major betting scandal which could prove significant for his career.
Gayle isn’t the first ex-Magpie to score against the Black Cats this season. Rotherham’s Shane Ferguson, who also came through the Newcastle academy but did not feature in a Tyne-Wear derby, scored in a 2-1 victory on February 21st, his first goal in his fourth career appearance against Sunderland.