The Devil’s Advocate: ‘I’ve seen the Mackem future and it’s bright.’ And bravo SAFC Ladies

Rob as seen by Jake
Rob as seen by Jake

First, we applaud SAFC LAdies for a crucial 4-1 win at Doncaster Belles. Then stand by for the latest edition of Rob Hutchison‘s irreverent Devil’s Advocate, in which he may take a view directly contrary to your own …

Doncaster Belles 1-4 SAFC Ladies. Match report at

And now for Rob:

Another week, another drama in the life of Sunderland. A decent draw at Southampton and the closure of that window were the highlights of the week.

It was disappointing to see Sunderland didn’t sell out the away end at the weekend. Maybe support is waning a touch already, maybe a few people are still on their holidays but you’d have thought we would have sold out, especially as the away tickets were subsidised ending up to be just £20 a pop.

It was a decent performance.  Rodwell was the star man, playing that crucial O’Shea role in front of the back four and he stifled anything that looked like coming through the centre. He looks to have finally found his sea legs and will probably be one of the first names on the team sheet going forward if he carries on in this manner.

The transfer window has caused much debate, and like many others I’ve been left disappointed.

In last week’s column I commented that we appeared to be finally getting our house in order by pulling in the purse strings, and what do we do, splurge £14m on a (N)Dong no one’s ever heard of.

In the end we broadly overspent with a gross spend this window of some £28m and what have we got for it? Two loanees, a free out of contract bod (who can pass, it has to be said), and a scattergun array of youngsters for an awful lot of dosh.

We could have saved £6m by passing on McNair and the Love machine and promoting more from within, which by and large seems to be already bearing fruit. Are these two better than Robson and Greenwood? I’m not so sure.

At least we saved money by not wasting more on a striker. While our need is great, there are some excellent out of contract bargains around should we need cover for Defoe.

Would Sess, NB52, or Adebayor do any worse than our current crop? Of course not. Need a keeper? Chris Kirkland or Mark Schwarzer are available and would provide over. Keep counting those pennies and we’ll be back in the black in no time.

The best bit of business this week was keeping strong on Kone. No matter what money Everton threw at it we were not for turning, and now maybe Moyes has the player he can build a team around. A spine of Pickford, Kone, Rodwell, and Defoe will be just fine, PROVIDED they all stay fit.

The future’s bright, the future’s Mackem and under Moyes, youth will prevail.

4 thoughts on “The Devil’s Advocate: ‘I’ve seen the Mackem future and it’s bright.’ And bravo SAFC Ladies”

  1. We paid 1M for Davis Love III the other week. This is the same player that is included in the Scotland U21 squad. Love can’t get into the U21s because of Liam Smith who is a genuine emerging talent at Hearts. Liam can’t get a game in the first team at Hearts because of the form of Callum Paterson, one of the previous emerging talents at Hearts.

    Using that logic. If Love was a Hearts player he would be third choice at RB at best. We have paid 1M for a player of that quality. That’s what’s wrong with SAFC in a nutshell.

  2. I echo the other posters in applauding a bit of positivity. IMO there has been far too much of the reverse during the last few weeks.

    I am reasonably satisfied with what we achieved in this transfer window – as much for who has gone out as with new players. We have moved on a number of players who were doing little other than occupying a shirt number, and drawing decent wages.

    I am pleased that David Moyes is putting together a younger squad, some of whom way well perform well, and make a profit in the future.

    Moyes knows McNair and Love, and I very much doubt that he would have brought them to Sunderland if he did not think that they would develop on.

    His other recruits all seem capable of playing first team football, and we still have three experienced midfielders to return from injury.

    I was sad to see Sam go, but I think we have got the best possible replacement. He has proved himself, at Everton, to be very shrewd in the transfer market, and IMO, very rarely makes mistakes about players.

    With the exception of Sam, our last series of managers have cost the club dearly by buying [ mostly ] poor players, in the wrong age group, and at ridiculous prices.
    I am so pleased that we now have a manager who, I suspect, is here for the long term, and knows how to build a team capable of operating effectively in the PL.

  3. It’s good to read something that is not negative! I am downbeat like everybody else that we did not manage to get M’Vila through the door but this is due to his current club playing hard-ball than against the actions of SAFC . I agree 100% that the club should not have paid a fortune for a player who is shortly out of contract as it is likely we can only afford his salary due to his out of contract status (afford to pay more salary due to no transfer costs).

    For the rest (injuries apart), we have a stronger squad than last season! OK it is smaller, but last seasons squad was full of the Bridcutts, Grahams, etc. of which the manager did not want to play. Lets be honest, when they did play they were utter garbage!

    We have 4 solid center backs, cover for both full backs, some cracking centeral midfielders in Rodwell (the new Rodwell), Kirchhoff, Cattermole and hopefully the new lad N’Dong. We have some good attacking forwards who can all play in each others roles in Januzaij, Watmore, Khazri, Gooch has been very impressive, Pienaar looks like he can still do a job. I bet these forward players could also do a job up front if needs must (short term only, I agree).

    I would be surprised if we started making a break for Europe but I still have reasons to be optimistic.

    • Great to see a realistic summary of the situation.

      I am fed up or reading the rubbish on the Echo (both journalistic and comments).

      I wonder if these so-called supporters would dip into their pockets and pay increased ticket prices to fund their fantasy buys.

      I have supported this club for more than 65 years and seen it all.

      We need to have faith in Moyes who has done as well as he could in the circumstances.

      Thats for a very succinct and honest opinion.

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