Collins, Ferdinand and McCartney profiled.
Welsh defender Danny Collins became a firm fan favourite during his six years with the Black Cats, winning promotion and the Player of the Year award twice.
It was Mick McCarthy who brought Collins to Wearside from Chester City and the former Vauxhall Motors loanee played 15 times as Sunderland won promotion to the Barclays Premier League along with the Championship title in the 2004-2005 season.
The following season the Black Cats were relegated but Collins became a versatile defensive stalwart under Roy Keane as Sunderland bounced back at the first time of asking, earning the Welshman another league winners’ medal.
Collins was noted by Sunderland fans for his technical ability and they even gave him his own song, suggesting that the defender could play as a centre forward for the Brazilian national team.
He made the most appearances for the team during the 2007-08 season, winning the Fans' Player of the Year award, an accolade he would repeat the following year.
Collins amassed 163 appearances for Sunderland before moving to Stoke City in September 2009 and he would go on to make 59 appearances for the Potters, though his time there also included loan spells at Ipswich and West Ham.
He made 11 appearances for the Hammers during their promotion-winning 2011-12 campaign, scoring once in a 1-1 draw with Leeds.
The 33-year-old moved to Nottingham Forest in 2012 and remains with them today.
Northern Irish defender George McCartney has had two spells with both Sunderland and West Ham, transferring between the clubs twice.
McCartney joined Sunderland as a teenager in 1998 and made his debut in a 3-0 home win against Luton in the League Cup, replacing Darren Holloway at half time.
The left-footer went on to form a fruitful partnership with Julio Arca in the early 2000s, often overlapping and tracking back for each other and after McCartney had been made club captain in 2003, he helped Sunderland to a Championship title in 2004-05, winning the Fans' Player of the Year award.
After making 157 appearances in his first spell, he joined West Ham for the first time in August 2006.
McCartney appeared 46 times for the Hammers in two years before transferring back to Sunderland in 2008.
The Belfast-born left-back returned to Wearside on the final day of the 2008 summer transfer window but his appearances in the following season would be disrupted by injury. The following season he enjoyed a good run in the side, making 20 appearances.
McCartney was loaned out to Leeds twice in the 2010-11 season before being loaned to West Ham for the entire 2011-12 campaign, helping the Hammers win promotion.
The defender then moved to the Boleyn Ground on a permanent deal in 2012 and has made 21 appearances for Sam Allardyce’s men this season.
Peckham-born Anton, like his brother Rio, is a product of West Ham’s youth system and made his professional debut for the club in 2003, aged just 18, a 2-1 win away to Preston.
Ferdinand made 163 senior appearances for West Ham over six years, helping the club to promotion in 2004-2005 and becoming a Premier League regular the following season.
He played in the 2006 FA Cup final while with the Irons, missing the penalty which handed Liverpool the trophy.
In August 2008, Ferdinand left London, signing for Roy Keane’s Sunderland. He would make his debut in a 1-1 draw away at Wigan alongside Nyron Nosworthy at centre-back.
Ferdinand never scored for Sunderland, though when he believed he found the back of the net during a 3-1 home win over Tottenham, the defender began a Michael Jackson tribute celebration before realising that the referee had ruled the goal out.
The centre-back made 95 appearances for Sunderland before moving to QPR in 2011. He went out on loan to Bursaspor in January 2013 for the remainder of the season.
He signed a three-year deal at Antalyaspor last summer but has not appeared for the Turkish side since September 2013.