New signing Wes Brown has revealed Dwight Yorke helped sell Sunderland to him as he pondered a summer switch to the Stadium of Light.
Brown was a target for several Premier League sides before joining the Black Cats and could easily have elected to stay in the North West with Everton leading the list of options available to him once it became clear he would be leaving Man United.
But Brown was leaning towards a move to the North East when former Red Devil team-mate Yorke – who spent the final three years of his career on Wearside – threw his weight behind a move to Sunderland.
“Dwight lives close by me in Manchester, so I see him now and again,” said Brown, who is set to make his Sunderland debut in tonight’s friendly against Scottish Premier League outfit Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.
“Before I joined Sunderland, I spoke to Dwight and the first thing he said to me was that I would be surprised at the quality of the facilities – the training ground and the stadium – here.
“He told me that it was all top quality and said I would love the club – and he wasn’t wrong.
“He said he loved his time up here and said that I would enjoy myself and I can understand that now because I can’t believe how quickly I’ve settled in.”
Brown, who also received the thumbs up for Sunderland from last season’s loan star Danny Welbeck, has found no shortage of familiar faces at Sunderland.
His long-standing team-mate at Old Trafford, John O’Shea, has also made the switch from Old Trafford and with fellow United old boys Kieran Richardson, Phil Bardsley and Fraizer Campbell already at the club, Brown is not among strangers.
“The fact that John moved here too definitely helped,” he said, candidly.
“I’ve known John for a long time and we’ve played in the same team for the past 10 or 11 years.
“I also know quite a few other players here at Sunderland – the likes of Kieran, Phil and Fraizer, so it has been easy for me to settle in.
“The first few days were a bit of a whirlwind because I didn’t know my way around the training ground or anything, but I am at home here now and I’ve got a house sorted already.”
Brown is one of nine summer signings to arrive on Wearside and the 31-year-old ex-England defender is convinced the new faces can help Sunderland step up another level and challenge for a European place this season.
He said: “I will try as hard as I can to get the club moving forward and into the European places.
“The gaffer has made some quality signings, which have added to what was already a very good squad.
“And I think that, with the signings we’ve made, we can definitely challenge for the European spots.”