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Toon Kid 'Apprehensive' About Joining Mackems
Steve Caldwell, now captain of Major League Soccer club Toronto FC, ended up playing in four Tyne-Wear derbies, two in the colours of each club.
Born in Stirling, Steve arrived at SJP along with his brother Gary in 1998. He broke into the side in 2000/01 and scored the winner in the Worthington Cup came against Bradford City.
He became a Scottish international, but he just lacked that extra bit of class to become a true Premiership player and only made 24 starts for Newcastle in six seasons.
Sir Bobby had brought in Titus Bramble to partner Jonathan Woodgate, and we also had Andy O'Brien, and if called upon Olivier Bernard and Aaron Hughes could play in the middle of the back line.
Caldwell signed for Sunderland in 2004 and was made skipper.
Steve Caldwell: “I was a little bit apprehensive about making the move to Sunderland.
“I loved Newcastle, and wanted to stay there, but over a period of months I’d decided I had to leave.
“When the opportunity came up, I was a bit reluctant. After speaking to Mick McCarthy, I realised it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
“I thought the side Sunderland were building was good enough to get promoted.
“It was quite smooth. What helped was that the clubs were in different leagues. Newcastle fans realised I gave my best to the club.
“I needed to move on to play regularly. It was up to me to prove myself to Sunderland’s fans.
“And I never regretted the move. I’ve got great memories from my time at Sunderland. I had ups and downs, but the promotion season was one of the most enjoyable in my career.
“I was lucky enough to play in four derbies – once in each stadium for both sides.
“I’m honoured and proud to have done that and played a part in the history between the two clubs.
“They’re great memories, even though not all were successful memories.
“They’re special games. Maybe those players who haven’t played in the derby don’t realise how special it is.
“Maybe I’m biased, but for me it’s the biggest derby in England.
"Being from Scotland, Celtic-Rangers is probably the biggest. I’ve also played in the Burnley-Blackburn derby, which is volatile.
“I watch the Premier League goals here, and I know Sunderland are on a poor run of form.
“But they have a new manager who will change their style. That takes time.
“Newcastle seem to have picked up. They’ve had some great results, and some iffy ones.
“But form can be irrelevant. I’d expect the game to be extremely tight.
“It would be huge for Sunderland if they could win, and Newcastle have got to make sure they don’t give them the opportunity to kick start their season.”
Source: Newcastle United Mad
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