Just when I thought I’d acted on Steve Bruce’s behalf and sold him to Wigan, David Healy has departed the Stadium of Light, not a ground he graced too often as a player, and joined his boyhood idols Rangers.
On our old Wigan-supporting friend Bernard Ramsdale’s Facebook wall, Sean Livesey wrote about their club’s 0-0 FA Cup draw at Bolton: “Good game today, think the Latics did our away support proud. Now if only we had someone who could finish.”
I felt obliged to offer helpful advice: “Do you want David Healy from us, Sean?” and there was, after the obligatory put-down, modest interest in Sean’s reply: “I said a goalscorer Colin, actually he could be worth a punt. Anyone at the moment… ”
Bernard chipped in with: “What’s Mr ‘I like loyalty’ Potato Head thinking? Straight swap for N’Zogbia, Rodallega and Figueroa?”
Leaving aside the fact that we’d have wanted at least £5m on top of the three players being offered in part exchange, it was all academic because Healy’s deal was done and dusted. Off to Rangers on what nearly everyone is calling a loan but the SAFC site says is a permanent move.
This is how Wikipedia summarises Healy’s career with SAFC:
On 21 August 2008 Healy joined Sunderland on a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee, believed to be worth £1.2 million. Healy made his début for Sunderland four days later in the Carling Cup and marked by scoring the winning goal in extra time against Nottingham Forest. The goal marked the fourth time in his career Healy has scored on his début for his teams – Leeds United, Fulham, Sunderland and Northern Ireland. Healy also scored in the FA Cup against Blackburn Rovers. Healy scored his first Premier League goal for Sunderland with an injury time goal, against Stoke City in a home game on February 7, 2009. Healy managed to score in every competition that Sunderland were entered into in his first season with the club.
Not a lot of goals, then, but not a lot of opportunities. All rather sad when we recall that on signing for Sunderland, Healy said he was “chuffed to bits” to be joining us.
Safc.com says the 31-year-old Northern Ireland international (and record NI goalscorer: his 35 goals for country make a mockery of his less prolific stats at club level since leaving Leeds) made only six substitute appearances under Steve Bruce at Sunderland and had loan spells at Ipswich and Doncaster.
Now he’s off to Glasgow.
“I had a trial with Rangers when I was 14, but I couldn’t sign back then as I was a little bit too young,” told the Rangers website. “But it’s been well documented that I am Rangers fan so are all my family. My dad comes on the boat to watch a lot of the games with his friends so it’s a boyhood dream for me.”
There was an amusing exchange over at the Blackcats list:
You wonder why a club like Rangers would come in for him at this point. I’d have thought the likes of Farsley Celtic and Carshalton Athletic would have thumbed their noses at him … I wonder how he will ever explain his career to his granchildren if he ever has any. He’ll probably tell them that he was an accountant or worked in a warehouse if he has any shame.
You are on a wind-up again here, aren’t you? I would imagine he would just tell them he played for Northern Ireland, scored the winner against England and a hat-trick against Spain and then show them the videos again. I haven’t got any grandchildren yet bit I would think that would allow me to die quite happily, along with passing on some of the millions I’d managed to con out of a few daft English clubs. I’d probably skip the bit about not getting a game (at SAFC) ahead of Murphy or even making the bench when the club was down to one striker.
Oh Aye, and then what will he tell them when they inevitably say ‘but Grandma told me that you played for the Mighty Sunderland, Grandad, and there aren’t even any clips of you on that old fashioned YouTube thing!’
That was just one of the sordid jobs he had to take on in England to help amass his fortune while he played football for his country. He could probably claim that he was never given a decent chance – not a single start under Bruce, even in the cups.
… which rather neatly gives you the cases for the prosecution and defence.
That said, I wish David Healy well. I also wish he had found another club sooner, but that may not be entirely his fault, or even his fault at all, and he had every right to protect his earnings as a professional footballer while on our books.
And he is certainly not the first proven goalscorer to fail to make an impact at Sunderland. Pete Sixsmith could write an entire series about such characters. Let the move give Healy’s career a late boost and be beneficial to all.