As Birflatt Boy would have it, both Pete Sixsmith and Monsieur Salut have been guilty of wilfully wishing Simon Mignolet well. But is it right that the Sunderland Echo quoted him as saying once he learned of Liverpool’s interest, he set his heart on leaving? Zero mention, we learn at the Blackcats list, ‘of being sad to leave, hard decision, enjoyed his time here, appreciated the support’. Well, maybe he’s already said as much elsewhere. It would still cut no ice with our shadiest contributor …
There was a phrase frequently encountered as a bairn which: “Hail fellah, well met!”
The meaning of is not immediately obvious. It’s also a fine example of grammatical nonsense, but everybody – apart from me as a Birflatt youth – seemed to know what it meant.
“Hail fellah well met!” is a good way to describe Simon Mignolet’s relationship with Sunderland. For those who “divvent knaa” the phrase really refers to an acquaintance that is perhaps better articulated by the more ubiquitous “ships that pass in the night”, describing a relationship which at face value appears to have some substance but, when it comes down to it, mean very little at all.
Immediately after Mignolet’s departure, comments from supporters appeared in various sections of the media saying all sorts of nice things about him, wishing him well and so on.
Call me old school, but I have little time for departed stars. They’ve turned their backs on the club we love. They don’t want to play for us. Off to some other club that will be trying their level best to take points off us next season. Reciprocal loyalty, gratitude, affection? Nonsense, piffle and tosh. Mignolet’s mind was made up as soon as he heard that Liverpool were interested.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m sorry Mignolet has gone. He has the potential to be the best goalkeeper in the world and has time on his side. Some of our supporters tell us that £9m is good business. Really? £9m for a player who makes such a difference in matches week after week?
We got more than twice as much from the Moneybags Merseysiders for the Jordan Henderson who is only average on a good day. We’ve given Mignolet away.
My disappointment with the whole Mignolet saga extends beyond the unrequited love of some of our support for a player who esentially doesn’t give a toss about us or SAFC, and indeed beyond dismay at the derisory amount that we’ve received for him.
My real ire stems from the Mignolet’s complete lack of ambition here.
I’m insulted that he would be so keen to sign for a club managed by Brendan Rodgers, whose achievements are limited to getting Swansea City promoted (they have actually done better since he left).
If this had been 20 years ago I could have understood it. He’d have been joining a real football dynasty then; these days the club is not what it was. Not by a country mile.
My own feelings about this transfer are rather like that of a husband coming home to find his wife has left him, only to discover that she’s run off with the binman. Insulted by choice as well as decision.
I’ve never understood the affection afforded to players who have left the ship sinking. It’s not as if Mignolet has left a relegated side, nor was that the case with Henderson and Bent. The way that it has all gone for Bent reinforces my belief in karma.
Kevin Phillips was a fantastic player for Sunderland and has gone on to have a lengthy although perhaps less successful career than his goals for us would have suggested. Phillips left to go on to “better and bigger things” or so he thought.
It didn’t quite work out that way though, departing at the end of a season, in which he – many of us feel – “didn’t try that hard”. Even today he is still eulogised after treating the fans who idolised him with contempt.
The same applies to Julio Arca, the mention of whose name is greeted with a similar response to that given to Phillips. Is this not the same Arca who was banging on Quinny’s door when we were without a manager and had just suffered a humiliating relegation? Yes, the same Arca who a lot of our supporters seemed to think had left his heart on Wearside when he had left in a hurry to further line his pockets at the Riverside.
You are with us or against us. Leave us and play for someone else and you are against us. You have the same respect from me as something I would tread in accidentally in the street. You were just out toy. Our club is not yours.