This is an important time for Sunderland AFC. All fans have their thoughts on players who’ve gone, those who’ve arrived. With the transfer deadline passed, Pete Sixsmith has his say on the state of the squad …
So, the transfer window slammed shut, the transfer gate was bolted and the transfer deadline has been passed with about as much excitement as the latest Ant and Dec extravaganza causes here at Sixsmith Towers.
The Brucester is now stuck with what he has until January and it is up to him and Eric Black to make something of an expensively assembled group of players. We are the third biggest spenders in the window after Manchester City (surprise, surprise) and Aston Villa (who appear to buy nothing but defenders, crocks and children).
We have also managed to move a few on and although the message boards are full of people renting their clothes, wailing and gnashing their teeth at the departure of the Superstar aka as Danny Collins, I think we have come out of this pretty well.
The manager’s comments about Sunderland being a soft touch must have sent a shudder down the spine of the players. His no nonsense views on the physical hammerings we took off Bolton, Blackburn and Stoke would have had some of them calling their agents with the words “I’m a puny defender, get me out of here.”
What Bruce has done is to strengthen the spine of the team. Hopefully Turner and Mensah will tighten up the middle, while we have already seen the potential of the Cattermole/Cana midfield pairing. The pace and intuition of Bent up front gives us a fairly strong first XI and with Ferdinand, da Silva (and his cousin da Sousa), Reid, Henderson and Campbell we can offer a decent bench.
The problems may come when we have injuries (inevitable) and suspensions (more so with Cattermole, Cana and Bardsley in the team). Some would say that we should have kept the likes of Tainio, Leadbitter and Edwards, but the wage bill must be reaching the stratosphere and no manager likes unhappy players in a club. They moan, snipe and cause all kinds of bother if they are not playing, so it’s often better to have a smallish squad.
Now that the dust is settling on RMK’s reign, we can see that his approach to bringing in players is completely different from the Brucester’s. Roy approached it as we all used to do when we were inexperienced Monopoly players; I’ll buy it if I land on it and it may come in useful later. Bruce takes a much more reasoned approach and is prepared to jettison The Angel, Islington and Vine Street and focus on the Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square sets and build some hotels on them to catch the big boys as they go round before, hopefully, moving onto the Regent Street set. The likes of Stoke and Blackburn may try to demolish them, but, hopefully, the structure will be sound
I was disappointed to see Grant and Carlos go, particularly the latter. The thrilling finale to RMK’s first season was sealed by that wonder goal against Burnley and both of them scored tremendous goals in a promotion defining win at Southampton. Best of luck to you both.
We now have a free Saturday before we can see the new defenders in action against Hull City. Turner would probably not have wished for that, but the City fans are virtually unanimous in their praise for him and in their condemnation of the chairman for selling him. There appears to be a looming financial crisis on Humberside. Look at the number of “transfer targets” they have been unable to agree terms with. Mind you, their reserve team absolutely slaughtered ours by 5 goals to 1 on a wet and miserable night at Hetton. The Premier Reserve League will not be returning to Wearside this season as most of the players are 17/18 year olds. Means we will have to concentrate on winning the first team league instead!!