Gary is best known for playing for and later captaining SAFC between 1984 and 1995. He played 369 league games scoring 23 goals, appearing in the 1985 Football League Cup Final, losing 1–0 to Norwich City and in the 1992 FA Cup Final, losing 1–0 to Liverpool. He was also voted the club's player of the season for the 1986–87 and 1993–94 seasons and more than 21,000 people attended his testimonial match at Roker Park against Rangers in July 1993. He left Sunderland in 1995 after eleven years at the club, joining Carlisle United. Nowadays Gary can be found delivering matchday commentary on BBC Radio Newcastle, he is also heavily involved with the Show Racism the Red Card campaign where he is also an ambassador as well as still finding time to coach football right across the region with a host of footballing initiatives that he has co-founded.
Gary said upon being announced: “I’m really proud to have been asked to lend my support to St Benedict’s Hospice. I have personally known so many people who have needed the help of the hospice and if I can do anything to help them out in return then I will. t’s really important right now that we all try and help support local charities and I know the challenges that St Benedict’s are facing are huge. The staff here are amazing and make such a difference to so many people’s lives. I’m looking forward to visiting once the current restrictions that are in place are lifted and I look forward to seeing what we can do together in the coming months”