That, says Pete Sixsmith (the only around here who seems to be working, but come back soon for the full version of Tash’s brilliant essay), is the question. He reports on concerns voiced elsewhere about our failure, so far, to land a single new player. Those concerns may be premature. Man Utd, having lost a special if immensely irritating Portuguese individual, have barely begun their own buying (albeit with less need than us) and already we’re fretting. But perhaps the thoughts being expressed just now reflect the impatience, suspicion and fear that, together with a weakness for being unfair constitute the essential attributes of the true Sunderland fan …
The first friendly is a week away. We have not signed one player yet. Bruce needs to get something sorted out quickly or else we will be left behind in the race for mid table respectability. This is not good enough for a club of our stature. We should be looking at Ibrahimovic, not Crouch, Vidic not Da Silva, Etoo not Bent.
We need to sell at least a dozen players. Get rid of Whitehead (crap), Jones (lazy),
McCartney (always injured), Murphy (Irish), McShane (red headed and Irish) Edwards (not good enough) and anyone else who does not come up to the demanding standards we set at the Stadium of Light.
All of this can be found on the Ready To Go message boards, where people with too much time on their hands and not enough common sense in their heads fly more kites than the entire population of Afghanistan.
Let’s look at the accusations already being thrown in the direction of the manager. He has signed nobody, ergo he is lazy. Clearly some people think that signing a player is like popping into the Co-op for a basketful of shopping. I have yet to negotiate with my Co-op Scottish Rapberries agent, discuss terms with the solicitor representing my Co-0p Fairtrade Bananas or try to persuade my Co-op Sauvignon Blanc that his wife/partner would enjoy swapping Sandbanks for Seaburn.
The impatience and vitriol of some fans is quite worrying. Look at the market and you will se that the middle ranking PL clubs (which is where I would love to see us for the next couple of seasons) are still sizing up their targets at home and abroad. There are clubs similar to ours in Spain, Italy, Germany, France all looking at players and trying to persuade them to move. We can compete with them, but that doesn’t mean we can actually sign every player we are linked with by the press.
Roy Keane’s best signings came when he thought about them. His worst ones came when he needed a name player – and we ended up with disruptive players in the dressing room.
Some of the criticism of Whitehead and Murphy on the boards verges on the lunatic. Whitehead is not the most gifted of players, but both McCartney and Keane rated him and he will always find admirers at Championship level. He is an honest, hard working professional who has been a good player for Sunderland and who does not deserve the trashing he is getting now. Murphy has his strengths but we rarely use them. He is good with his back to the goal and he can cut in very effectively. He is not a wide midfield player. He scored good goals a couple of years ago and while not another Quinn, Phillips or even Neil Martin, he has done well for Sunderland.
Why can’t people accept that players rarely play badly on purpose and look at the wider picture? Jones lazy? Not so; he covers a lot of ground when he does not have to try and link with a player like Cisse, who is completely different in style and philosophy. Jeremy Robson said in January that selling Jones would be like selling one of your kidneys. Agreed!
So, let’s give it a couple of weeks and see what is happening. Looks like Keane is coming in for a couple and I am sure that Bruce will have some new faces in and some old faces moved on by the 15th of next month.
Anyway, it’s better than the ongoing farce up the road.