RR: The season after we got promoted, you pulled up with injury against Birmingham and spent months out. You returned against Derby only to suffer a broken leg. You were out for six months in total. How frustrating was that season for you?
CE: They gave me a timescale to come back from the first injury and in my first training session I pulled up. I think Roy started getting frustrated too. He sent me to a specialist in Finland. The specialist said it would of done more harm than good if they operated on it.
Eventually I got back and then broke my leg. It just felt like I never really got started that year. It was really hard because I was really looking forward to the season.
As a player you can’t dwell on it though, you just have to keep working hard - but I don’t think I came back the same player as before. Thing didn’t work out the way I wanted them to that year. It was a real kick in the face to be honest with you.
RR: Why do you think it went wrong the season after? Was it the players we brought in?
CE: I think at the time, in my opinion, the club didn’t seem in the best state as we hadn’t really had such a good season the year before, although we had stayed up.
Roy brought in some players but they were bad eggs. Their attitude, their approach to the game, training - everything. There were too many egos in the dressing room at once. Roy brought in players he thought he could mould into better players, better individuals - but he couldn’t control them. It went tits up and he had enough.
Northampton in the cup game he kicked over the tactics board. He went absolutely mental. He was really angry! I don’t think Jet Li would have done a better kung fu kick than that! Yorkie put that in his biography as you know.
RR: What was Djibril Cisse like then?
CE: We all liked Djibril, he was a good guy. He was like a French Roy Keane. You never knew what you were going to get with him. We used to take the mick out of him because of his hair; but he didn’t care - he was just being himself and that’s why we liked him.
Others players were just too arrogant though, too self absorbed and not right for that football club. It felt sometimes more like a fashion show than bloody footie!
RR: You got back into the side under Ricky Sbragia and played in the derby game at St. James. What was your personal experience of playing in a derby?
CE: It was my first time at St. James. It’s one of the better derbies I’ve played in, the whole atmosphere and the fans getting at each other. It’s a game that is special.
When Cisse scored we did that celebration together. You’ve just scored against the Geordies, you go mad. You just enjoy it!
I remember getting booed and I just smiled at them; like I always do! I kill people with kindness! You use more muscle to frown than you do to smile!
RR: You ended the season in the team but when Steve Bruce came in he seemed to allow you to go quite easily - were there issues with Bruce or was he completely honest? Any regrets about leaving?
CE: He didn’t give me a chance.
It was down to Niall who had to convince me to go, because I was going to stay and frustrate him - but that wasn’t me, I wasn’t that type of person or player but I just felt I wasn’t given the script fairly. Be honest with me from day one, I would prefer that. I felt I was told one thing, and when the time comes it’s something completely different. If I’m not going to be part of sometime plans, just tell me.
In the end I had to do what was right for me and my family. I had to move to remain sane and my time had come to end with Sunderland. I would never regret those two and half years at Sunderland though, never.
RR: Do you still speak to the likes of Kenwyne, Dwight and Stern John? How handy was it to have a fellow Trinidadian at the club?
CE: It was good. I had never had any Trinidadian’s around for me so long at the other clubs; it was refreshing. We all really got along well. I could talk to them in my Trinidad accent! We all had a good relationship before we were at the club.
Stern John is one of the assistant coaches for one of the clubs I’m associated with here in Trinidad, Kenwyne and I still meet with the national team. We’ve all got a good relationship still.
RR: What are your thoughts on Sunderland currently? With the appointment of Simon Grayson what are you hopes for the club?
CE: I’m optimistic. I always remain positive. I don’t think anyone expected us to win the league in 2006/2007 with the way we started. This could be the start of something special. You never know.
I don’t know which players are going to be there. I know that some big players have left and it’s going to take a little while. We all know the Championship is hardcore: you can spank a team by five or lose by five a week later. You have to be positive though.
Simon Grayson is going to have a full pre-season and I’m sure he’ll identify players to bring in and go for promotion. I know more than anything that the fans will show the support like they always do.
RR: Thanks so much Carlos for taking the time to answer our questions, you're a gentleman. Good luck in the future!