Only Peter Reid and Lee Clark, and perhaps whoever served them at the Yarm Country Club, know for sure whether it really took five shared bottles of champagne to persuade the Wallsend-born midfielder to join Sunderland from his beloved Newcastle United.
That is what I recall Reid saying happened in an interview at the time. But whatever the truth of the 1997
booze-up recruitment meeting, it will come as little surprise to Sunderland supporters that Clark now regards the move as a mistake.
Having helped us to promotion, he then chose to wear a t-shirt bearing the slogan “Sad Mackem Bastards” at the 1999 FA Cup final, which he attended as a NUFC fan (they lost to Man Utd).