John McCormick writes: Pete Sixsmith is a man of action. As soon as the deadline passed he sprang to work, with the result that this arrived early on Friday. We held it back a day to give our readers time to reflect on the goings-on at this club of ours.
By now you’ll have had time to form your own opinion, as I have. I wouldn’t be surprised if our opinions change as the season progresses but it’s the here and now which matters, and here, now, is Pete’s analysis.
I find myself in broad agreement, and optimistic. How about you? Let’s have your opinions too.
LOOK THROUGH ANY WINDOW
That great Manchester group The Hollies sang this one. It went
“Look through any window, yeah
What do you see?
Smiling faces all around”
Although our faces may not be smiling, we can have a sense of contentment about what happened yesterday. Three in, three out, albeit on loan, and a hope that this window will not be as appalling as the two that David Moyes had to supervise. The fact that Stephen Pienaar hasn’t turned up is a good start.
The three incomers all look as if they could be decent players.
- Marc Wilson is a known known. He has been around a bit. He played 146 times for Stoke City so he will be no shrinking violet. He is an Irish international. He can play across the back four or in midfield. Maybe if we asked him, he could have a go up front.
The main thing is that he cost nothing. He has wasted a season with Bournemouth, playing zero games and his old boss, Tony Pulis, took him to West Brom to fill the squad up a bit. At 30 he will want to play. He will hopefully have desire. He may well be mates with Messrs O’Shea, Gibson and McGeady. The craic will be good. Marks out of 5; a reserved 4.
- Jonny Williams has come from Crystal Palace. He’s a Welsh international who was born in that hotbed of coal mining, rugby and male voice choirs, Tunbridge Wells. He must be a tad disgusted with all of the injuries he has had. They include a broken leg while on Wales Under 21 duty and a groin injury while on loan at Forest. He has also been to Ipswich with Mick McCarthy and the franchise club at Milton Keynes.
Palace must think a lot of him as they offered him a two year contract in June which was duly signed. He is currently with the Wales squad as they prepare for their World Cup qualifiers at home to Austria and away to Moldova.
For us, the idea seems to be to play him behind the two forwards as a No.10 and hope that he can score a few goals, something that we desperately need from a midfielder. Marks out of 5; a reserved 3.5; 4 if he can stay injury free.
The Everton connection is retained through Callum McManaman. He is a supporter of the Blues, being brought up in Rainhill, the site of the first railway casualty in the world – and a Cabinet Minister to boot, and came up through their academy before being released.
His formative years were spent at Wigan, where he won England Under 20 caps and he became a regular. He had a fine game in the 2015 FA Cup final when Manchester City were beaten and he left for West Brom after the Latics relegation.-
It didn’t work out for him there; Tony Pulis is not a man who much likes the fripperies of wing play and his career has stalled. A loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday was not fruitful and he comes to us (for free of course) with something to prove.
Oh, and he’s not well liked on Tyneside after a challenge on Massadio Haidara which left the Newcastle player with a badly bruised leg and upset the footballing purists who have cheered Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan and Johnjo Shelvey. Marks out of 5; a reserved 3; 4 if he can recapture the form of 2015.
We say goodbye to Wahbi Khazri who has gone to Rennes to recapture his love of the game. Best of luck with that one, Rennes.
After initially doing well under Allardyce, he looked an over rated and not very disciplined failure at Sunderland. Allardyce dropped him in the relegation run in and Moyes never rated him at all. Grayson appears to have similar feelings. I won’t miss the nasty little fouls that he committed when he became frustrated.
Papy Djilobodji has gone on loan to Dijon and I don’t expect to see him back – or much of the £8m that we blew on him. When we are in our dotage (in about three years’ time), the editorial team will sit around and compare the Senegalese centre half with Steve Hetzke, Brian Heslop and Santiago Vergini as to who was actually the worst ever central defender to play more than 20 games for Sunderland. Papy comes in second after Hetzke. Here’s hoping he can cut the mustard in Ligue 1.
Max Stryjek has gone to Accrington for the rest of the season but I expect him to be back. He’s a very good keeper with much to offer. A trip to The Crown Ground and a pint of Thwaites’s Bitter is on the agenda for later in the season.
|We have retained Kone and Ndong until January at least. It is in their interests to play well if they are angling for a move away in the next window, which is good for us. We can now settle down and start to win a few home games which is vital to win over a grumbling and stay-away support. Watmore and McNair are on the way back as well.|
Let’s hope that, in the words of Graham Gouldman and Charles Silverman’s song, the crowds are
“Rushing through the busy town”
and heading for the Stadium of Light.