Martin O’Neill’s top transfer coup? Best answers win SAFC v Liverpool tickets


Closing date for entries is Monday September 10

From Leslie Dodd,a Sunderland exile in the deep south (Surrey), comes an offer of complimentary tickets for Sunderland v Liverpool on Sept 15.

The tickets are intended for home supporters only and come courtesy of Leslie’s relationship with Betbutler powered by Worldlink, Worldlink being the official betting and gaming partner for SAFC.

Time is short so let us make it a simple competition. What was Martin O’Neill’s best bit of transfer-window business for you, and why? You can extend your comment to discuss previous transfers in the history of Sunderland AFC that excited or appalled you.

If there is sufficient response, Monsieur Salut will judge the entries and arbitrarily choose three winners to divide the tickets between (two pairs and a single). I can take no responsibility for any aspect of the offer but will happily put winners in touch with Leslie to arrange collection of the tickets.

Get commenting …

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9 thoughts on “Martin O’Neill’s top transfer coup? Best answers win SAFC v Liverpool tickets”

  1. Interesting point you make John about having a replacement, and irrespective of anyone’s personal opinion about Dalglish’s reign and results, he was a strong manager who was determined to do things his way.

    Rogers is a bit of an Owen Coyle(and look how that ended up!) for me who has had a couple of respectable seasons at a smaller club, but was recruited partly because he was seen as something of a pushoever by misguided owners. Time will tell how things will go for him but he has been left threadbare in attack, not only because of AC’s departure but also because of the loss of both Bellamy and Kuyt. The chickens will soon be coming home to roost at Anfield I suspect, particularly if there are any injuries to either newcomer Borini or Suarez. They seem to have changed their manager in order to change their transfer policy.

  2. Keeping Ellis short onside. Look at Rogers’ comment and the open letter written to LFC fans after Carroll went.

    One of the tenets of “soccernomics” which I didn’t include in my recent post was don’t sell anyone until you have a replacement. Steve Bruce ignored it, maybe he had little choice, but we’ve done OK under MON.

    By the way, much as I’d like to, I’m not able to make use of tickets on 15th.

  3. I was pleased with the Fletcher signing and over the moon when i saw AJ holding up the shirt for the first time but for me the signing of the summer was Sess signing his contract extension. It shows that we now mean business and aren’t just going to let our best players go as easy as we used to. All summer i was waiting for the inevitable “Sess sold” story so when i heard he had commited to new deal i was ecstatic.

  4. Great post from David. My immediate response to the question would be to say Cuellar for nothing, but as has already been said, his overall dealing has been superb. His ability to turn Sess around when everyone expected him to depart in the summer is also a great credit to MON too. Adam Johnson has yet to show, but Fletcher managed to get 25% of the way towards equalling last season’s top scorer in less than three quarters of an hour. Great all round work in the summer even if the majority of us were starting to panic a couple of weeks ago.

  5. I, as I’m sure most Sunderland fans do, love to play the role of manager.

    Every year, the transfer window opens up and immediately we all know our individual preferences and share our areas of weakness and our lavish transfer targets ‘if I was the manager’ with our friends down the pub. Whether it be the household name whose top of his game in the premier league who has no chance in hell of signing (because his WAG would have to give up her Sushi in London for a cheese and bacon lattice from Greggs), or that impressive young 16 year old wonder striker from some unpronounceable village who you ‘saw on youtube’…. We all know what WE would do with our endless and fictional budget.

    Whilst we generally all have differences in opinion on these targets, we can all usually agree on one thing: The area’s in the team that need strengthening. If you did a survey of Sunderland fans at the end of last season, I’d wager good money that 99% of them would return the same answer to this question:

    * A striker who is proven at scoring goals in the premier league.

    * A left back who IS actually a left back

    * A play maker who can provide service to our new striker and will score some goals himself

    * and finally, to try block the envious eyes of the ‘bigger boys’ from taking our star man… Sessegnon

    Infact, I just conducted the aforementioned survey in a reliable test environment (my home) and 100% of those asked agreed. (…..well, its only me and pet rabbit here at the moment… And all he did was lick his shoulder…. But I’m pretty sure that’s ‘street talk’ for ‘I agree with you 100% David’ …. So that will suffice)

    And so the transfer window opened and our first signing was announced. Carlos Cuellar joined us on a free. This was actually a good bit of business for a decent, commanding centre back, who our manager has worked with previously. Nevertheless, it didn’t tick any of the boxes mentioned in ‘survey’.

    This signing was then followed by something quite horrific. Something that us Sunderland fans hate. All of our recent crop of managers knew we hated it and thus never subjected it unto us… However Martin O’Neill and Ellis Short did… and we HATED them for it….

    … They showed an attribute called ‘patience’ ….

    It was, quite frankly, completely uncalled for. Weeks went by, the newspapers starting playing the game of ‘Manager’ with us, linking us with every player in the land… but nothing happened. Many a fine, well rounded, Sunderland derrière became twitchy, and even those of us with a calm exterior and a smug ‘…Trust the club, everything will be alright…’ face were secretly changing our crisp, white undies twice a day.

    Then, one damp and cold Friday morning… it happened. After weeks of speculation, followed by the most long and torturous saga since my girlfriend made me watch the new star wars films back to back again, Stephen Fletcher had signed.

    Stephen Fletcher ticks the first ‘survey’ box completely. He has spent a few seasons now plying his trade in the premier league. He has consistently scored into double figures (albeit without hitting that magic ’15 goals a season’ number), whilst living off a service provided to him by two (with no disrespect to Wolves or Burnley) absolutely HORRENDOUS teams….

    He’s 25 years old (an age where he still hasnt reached his peak yet) and generally remains injury free. He is strong, powerful, and has a mean left foot. One very promising statistic to add: He scored more headed goals than any other player in the premier league last season. Add these facts to the fact that Sunderland scored more goals from Set-Pieces last season than the vast majority of our counterparts, and that he would be living on crosses from Mclean (one of the most promising and exciting wingers in the country) and Seb Larsson (whose crossing ability is superb) and also the clever little passes and throughballs from our mini magician Sess… and it started to look like Fletcher might be an extremely promising signing for us.

    People may quibble about the price, but at the end of the day, you pay the price you need to pay for the player who looks like he slot into the team perfectly. The club showed the patience needed, and didnt go for ‘secondary’ (and by definition, not as good) targets.

    Fast forward a few hours, and there i was… sitting at my friends house, watching Bolton vs Nottingham Forrest on Sky and stuffing my face full of Domino’s Pizza, feeling very content with the Fletcher signing, the large quantities of cheese and BBQ sauce in my mouth and the fact that we managed to offload the complete oaf that is Greg Halford before he did too much damage. I decided to check my phone to see if there was any ‘this is the club i always dreamed of playing for’ interviews on the internet yet from Fletcher… and there it was:

    “Sunderland transfer coup, as England starlet Johnson signs for Black Cats”

    Everything seemed to go quiet…. the rain outside seemed to stop beating down on the window for a split second… and sweet chili dip i was licking off a burnt pizza crust tasted that little bit sweeter.

    Sunderland had just made potentially the best signing i had ever seen in my (young…. and handsome) 28 years of life. Not only had we made a genuine ‘marquee’ signing, for one of the most exciting and highly rated wingers in the country, whilst also beating off competition from teams further up the table for his signature AND for a VERY decent transfer fee… but in the space of a day, we had also ticked the second box off our ‘survey’ transfer wish list: “A play maker who can provide service to our new striker and will score some goals himself”.

    I was also able to now go and buy an England shirt with a Sunderland players name on the back, something that would look incredibly tacky, but would grant me additional ‘smug points’ whilst prancing around town.

    The mood amongst Sunderland fans was incredible. We flocked to the stadium the following saturday (me dragging my Liverpool supporting friend with me all the way from Carlisle in order to goad him into how much better and cheaper Johnson was compared with Downing), only to have our spirits temporarily dampened by the weather and the game being called off.

    The cup game came along however, and we were given our first glimpse of what was to come of our new protégée. Two assists, several step overs and a few near goal moments later… and Sunderland fans knew we were in for a treat this season. Johnson looked the real deal, and the mouth watering prospect of an attacking line, spearheaded by Fletcher and supported by Mclean, Sessignon and Johnson was visible for all to see….

    Now if only all this talk of Sessignon leaving would just bloody disappear… and it did! …and it didnt disappear with the transfer window closing whilst O’Neill clung for dear life to his prized asset either…. but rather with Sess himself committing to the club for at least a few more years by signing a new contract. Arguably, this is just as much of a landmark as the signing of Johnson. We had underlined our ambition as a club, and kept hold of one of the most technically gifted players to wear the red and white in the modern era. Another box ticked off that list WAAAY up there at the top of this ‘comment’ please!

    And so Deadline day approached, and it was time to tick the last box as well. And this was a box that has been on the list since before even Roy Keane came to the club those many moons ago: “A left back who IS actually a left back”

    Danny Rose signed on a season long loan. Whilst this little bit of transfer news seemed to come and go just as quick from the front page of the main ‘TRANSFER DEADLINE DAY BREAKING NEWS’ websites, it definitely is not to be regarded as any less significant.

    Danny Rose is a young, hungry englishman, who has been dying to show his potential at spurs since signing from leeds. The fact he played over 20 games for the club (despite being kept out of the team by the likes of Assou Ekotto and often Gareth Bale) should not be forgotten. He is a natual left footer, and will want to come to Sunderland and prove a point (and possibly stay). The most significant thing about this signing is, however…. That i can now ALSO go and buy a Team GB shirt with a Sunderland players name on the back and get even MORE smug points!

    And with that, the transfer window ended. Martin O’Neill had stamped his name all across a team which now looked more youthful, full of pace, flair and goals. For the first time in a long while, we had invested in QUALITY rather than quantity.

    Ellis Short, who continues to back the club with vast sums of money and who also helped get these signings over the line should not be the forgoten man in all this either. Both he and O’Neill have brought genuine excitement to the club.

    It is for this reason alone that i have to answer the question posed by Salut! Sunderland in the most honest and simple way i can:

    The best bit of transfer business this window wasn’t any one, individual player. It was the completion of an entire wishlist of area’s to strengthen that an astonishing 100% of Sunderland fans agreed with…. and i have the survey to prove it!

    • What a fine, lengthy response David and I have to agree with all you say – except BBQ sauce on pizza – not for me I’m strictly mozzarella, basil, tomato and anchovies (though for variety I’ll substitute chilli and/or jalapeno for the anchovies).

      I assume I am disqualified from entry and as I have a season card and a wedding to go to on the day of the Liverpool game I don’t actually need it. I would rather see the prize go to a deserving cause, but I have a feeling that Saha may prove to be the best value for money signing of the summer. That and Sess’s extension.

      I don’t expect him to start every game but I suspect he will link up well with Fletcher when the two of them are on the pitch together. I can’t see him and Sess playing the same role together but his inclusion would allow Sess to play a little deeper in a more creative role, as an alternative to Larsson, Johnson or McClean if and when required.

      The squad looks to have a much better overall balance now and even Shearer was optimistic about our chances.

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