One Papy too many: adieu Monsieur Djilobodji

Papy before his grandfatherly fall from fitness…

Charlatan or downtrodden victim: what, asks Monsieur Salut, are we to make of Papy Djilobodji, effectively sacked today by SAFC?

As a supporter of Sunderland AFC for more than half a century, I have reacted to a stream of under-performing players with a weary sense of resignation, blaming the club for acquiring them more than the players for being so useless. Provided, that is, that the player/s in question at least tried as best they could to justify inclusion in the squad.

If a player is not only way below par but also demonstrates an attitude betraying greed, unprofessionalism and stupidity, my finger of blame starts to pop in the other direction.

Here is what SAFC had to say today about our Papy, a man who should at 29 be at just about his peak as a player before passing that ominous 30 milestone (it could be worse: papy means grandfather in French, as I know one too well):

Sunderland AFC has given notice under its contract with Papy Djilobodji. Djilobodji, who was under contract to SAFC until June 2020, indicated in June 2018 that he wished to leave the club.

In order to facilitate that desire, the club entered into a written agreement with the player allowing him to spend the month of July on voluntary unpaid leave.

When that period came to an end, the player was expected either to leave for a new club – having reached a deal satisfactory to himself and SAFC – or to return in shape to play professional football. Instead, he returned to Sunderland over a month later, in the first week of September, ignoring written requests for his return. On his return, he was subjected to the same fitness test that his fellow professionals had undertaken on their return. He comprehensively failed that test.

As a result, Sunderland AFC can confirm that it has accepted Papy Djilobodji’s repudiatory breaches of contract and notice of the same has been provided to the player.

Now I have no idea whether he had put on four stones in the summer, or started smoking 100 fags a day while swigging from bottles of home-made rum, or was just a little out of shape.

But what a comedown for a man who has 13 caps for Senegal and was once signed, if then used only once as a sub in a League Cup tie, by Chelsea.

We’d love to hear and present his side of the story. Papy or his agent is warmly invited to supply it. We won’t be holding our breath, just trusting that the club has on this occasion got it right.

Hark back to the 2016 signing, when our deputy editor, Malcolm Dawson, wrote this:

‘I must admit I know precious little about Papy Djilobodji except what I’ve read which is probably what most of you have read too, but Salut! Sunderland offers him a warm welcome. One of M Salut’s acquaintences, who happens to support Chelski rather cruelly described him as “think Gareth Hall but without the talent”. How anyone can reach that verdict when he played less than a minute for the London club is more than a little harsh I feel.

Hear, hear, I thought at the time. Now, just do a Google translation for bon débarras.

12 thoughts on “One Papy too many: adieu Monsieur Djilobodji”

  1. Papy and his agent are described as stupid, useless and unprofessional. Made a lot of money though.

    So what do we make of the scouts, advisors, coaches, manager and chief executive? They thought lets pay 8 million for a player the wrong side of 20, 30 mins Premier league and 10 games in Bundesliga.

    Just what on earth has been going on at our club?

  2. Fancy naming your band “Good Riddance”!
    This took me back to my days working for a French company, part of the Rhone Poulenc chemical giant. They had a chemist called Hugo Barass who was a bit of a “nutty professor” type. One weekend at home he managed to combine sweeping up leaves and a bonfire of same with setting fire to his car – a red Renault Fuego. Bless! (I did wonder why a French motor company used Spanish for “fire”, though?)

  3. It’s only a couple of days since the club was obliged to pay £6.5 million as the rest of his transfer fee. Do we still have instalments left to pay on Ndong? Add to that the fact we are still paying a big chunk of Kone’s wage and maybe some others, not forgetting the Alvarez debacle and I hope those who are quick to criticise realise that it will be another couple of years before the club is completely free of the mess Ellis Short oversaw.

    Short might be a nice guy who poured a fortune into the club and he may well have been full of good intentions but it’s going to take a while to get things sorted and the club will be taking a few financial hits meantime.

    • No question that Short poured a fortune into the club and yes, he probably came in overflowing with good intentions. But a nice guy? Or simply a wealthy ego-freak who bought a club because that’s the sort of thing billionaires do, and then chopped and changed every few months because he didn’t know nearly as much about football as he thought he did and lacked the patience to let someone more knowledgeable get on with the job and lay a firm foundation for success?
      Either way, he left a lot of damage to be undone. The new regime has started well and casting off the last of the expensive driftwood will consolidate that. With a long-term strategy and some real, rather than transitory, discipline, there should be be fewer Ferraris (or whatever League One players drive) parked outside nightclubs in the early hours of the morning…

  4. Hopefully the legal eagles advising us have got this one bang to rights. It is sadly the right time to stem the player power tide. The average Djilli and his seemingly dreadful agent have tried to walk all over us, like so many before them. I do so hope they have met their match in the Don. Having, like the childish NDong, taken us for a long ride in actively self-depreciating their values, it is now time to return the favour. Hit them both in the pocket, as hard as possible. Sue them for every penny in their long contracts, plus the bloated transfer fees we paid. That may just turn the tide, not just for us, but for all the feckless money grabbers who only care about one thing. Themselves.

  5. We should have sold him a year ago, when it was clear he didn’t want to play second division football, let alone third tier.

  6. Good riddance, obscenely overpriced waste of space . Hopefully he and N,Dong will be the last of these useless ,overpaid chancers that have destroyed our club and that a new brighter era has finally dawned.

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