SAFC Legends Series- Thomas Sørensen

Sørensen was born in a town named Fredericia in Denmark in 1976.

The goalkeeper started his career at Odense Boldklub but after spending most of his time there on loan at Vejle and Svendborg in the Danish First Division, he signed for the Black Cats at the age of 22, in 1998.

He was bought by Sunderland for £510,000 in a bid to replace Lionel Perez who had joined Newcastle United on a free transfer.

Sørensen was Sunderland’s first choice goalkeeper in his first season as he helped the Black Cats return to the Premier League after winning the First Division title.

In that season, Sørensen smashed the clubs clean sheet record as he kept 29 clean sheets in 45 games as they won promotion.

The Danish ‘keeper established himself in the Premier League for Sunderland and he helped them to their best ever Premier League finish in their first season back in the top flight.

In Sunderland’s first two seasons back in The Premier League, they finished 7th, narrowly missing out on European football both times.

In 2001, he was named the North East Football Writers’ Player of the Year as he continued to impress for Sunderland in the Premier League.

His most memorable moment came in his third season with The Black Cats, when they were beating arch-rivals, Newcastle at St. James’ Park 1-2 and The Magpies were awarded a penalty late in the game as they looked to salvage a point.

Newcastle hero, Alan Shearer stepped up to take the penalty and Sørensen guessed the right way and saved his penalty.

This was a moment Sunderland fans will never forget as they went on to win the game, meaning it was back-to-back wins at St. James’ Park for The Black Cats.

Thomas Sørensen spent a total of 5 seasons at Sunderland and he amassed almost 200 appearances for them in the process.

Unfortunately for Sørensen, his final season with Sunderland was a disappointing one.

He had suffered an injury early on in the 2002-03 season, which saw him out of action for almost 3 months.

He would only go on to play 21 games out of 38 as Sunderland suffered relegation back down to The Championship.

The club, at the time, was suffering from financial difficulties, and Sørensen was sold to Aston Villa for £2 million.

Sørensen carried on playing until he was 41 years-old and he went on to make almost 600 club appearances before his retirement in 2017.

The 6ft 5 goalkeeper carried on his career in the Premier League when he left Sunderland, playing for Aston Villa and Stoke City.

During his time at Stoke City, he reached the F.A Cup final in the 2010-11 season, where they narrowly lost to Manchester City 1-0 thanks to a goal by Mario Balotelli.

In 2015, he joined Melbourne City in Australia, and in his first season he was named the A-Leagues goalkeeper of the year at the age of 40.

He went on to play for them for 1 more season before hanging up his gloves in 2017.