Malcolm Dawson writes……..in the briefest of statements the club has announced that it has reached an agreement with Papy Djilobodji that will finally bring an end to his employment at SAFC and bring closure to a saga which seems to epitomise the way the club had been badly run and the contrast in policy and attitudes that this current regime has brought to Sunderland AFC.
The statement in full reads: “Sunderland AFC has reached an agreement with Papy Djilobodji for his departure, his employment having terminated on 21 September 2018.” I would suspect the terms of the agreement precludes the club saying much more at this time, but a costly court case has been avoided and hopefully the matter has been resolved to the benefit of the club rather than the player.
Malcolm Dawson writes… …this afternoon’s announcement that the club has served notice on Didier Ndong has surely come as no surprise. The club’s record signing who stated his intention not to play for the club again could surely not have expected to be taken back into the fold after a five month no show. His return to Wearside over the weekend was perhaps the last throw of the dice for a player who must have lost at least £600,000 in wages after the club had rightly refused to pay him and on seeing the closure of the Portugese transfer window realised that he would be losing up to a £1 million and maybe more.
From Sunderland’s perspective, although I am sure that there are legal implications still impacting on their recruitment policy, officially getting him, together with Papi Djilobodji off the payroll, will make meeting Financial Fair Play requirements that much easier.
One can feel no sympathy for either of these players, both of whom reportedly had opportunities to sign for new clubs over the summer, which failed to materialise for whatever reason. How much the players’ own greed or that of their agents affected these decisions I have no idea, but I applaud the new regime in charge of SAFC for their stance and their refusal to cow tow (kowtow/ kau tau / khàu-thâu) to these two and their representatives.
What now for the two? I don’t know and I don’t really care. It is suggested the club will be looking to recoup some of the lost income they might have got from the sale of these players, although the costs involved in pursuing such a case through legal channels may prove to be prohibitive and I have no doubt the players and their representatives are considering counter action against the club.
They can surely have no case and the club can point to the way they have honoured their contracts with Cattermole and Oviedo, who are still on Premiership wages and to Kone and Khazri, who were both allowed to move on favourable terms.
Sunderland AFC has given notice under its contract with Didier Ndong. The player, who was under contract with the club until June 2021, failed to return to Sunderland for pre-season training in July as scheduled, nor in the subsequent months that followed. No reason was given for his failure to report and continued absence.
As a result, the club has accepted Didier Ndong’s repudiatory breaches of contract and notice of the same has been provided to the player. Sunderland AFC does so whilst retaining the right to pursue the player and any club he may subsequently join in relation to compensation for the value of the player.
Charlatan or downtrodden victim: what, asks Monsieur Salut, are we to make of Papy Djilobodji, effectively sacked today by SAFC?
As a supporter of Sunderland AFC for more than half a century, I have reacted to a stream of under-performing players with a weary sense of resignation, blaming the club for acquiring them more than the players for being so useless. Provided, that is, that the player/s in question at least tried as best they could to justify inclusion in the squad.
If a player is not only way below par but also demonstrates an attitude betraying greed, unprofessionalism and stupidity, my finger of blame starts to pop in the other direction.
Malcolm Dawson writes……….Pete Sixsmith made the trip across the Pennines to Brunton Park last night and saw us win our way through to the next round of the competition which I still call the League Cup. We got through but was it a comfortable victory or a fortunate one? Here’s what Pete thinks.
Carlisle United (away) Caraboa Cup
Tomorrow is the day when the English Football League draws the next round of this competition that has been ticking over since the 1960-61 season.
Our first game in it was at Griffin Park, Brentford on the 26th October. We lost 4-3 after having been 3-1 up at half time thanks to goals from Ian Lawther, Willie McPheat and Amby Fogarty. Later that week, the draw for the next round was made at the Football League headquarters in Lytham St Annes, at the posh end of Blackpool and I presume that the Football League panjandrums who drew it included Alan Hardaker, the formidable secretary of the League and Barnsley Chairman Joe Richards who was the President of the League at the time.
One bright spot on a dark day for SAFC supporters was the introduction of the Sunderland Echo’s new chief football writer, Phil Smith, to listeners to Barnes and Benno in the buildup to the limp display at West Brom.
Phil is a Sunderland supporter, not the first to occupy this particular journalistic hot seat or cover the SAFC beat for other media outlets. Like Graeme Anderson and the late, hugely missed Ian Laws before him (not forgetting Chris Young and Nick Barnes’s predecessor as BBC Radio Newcastle commentator Martin Emmerson), he came across as man brimming with passion for the club and sharing the pain of the rest of us. (Not so sure about Chris’s prior allegiance but he writes about the club, even since departing for more glamorous pursuits in LA, in a way suggesting SAFC got under his skin Niall-style.)
There are times when contributors to this site hark back to the music of yesterday, and today is no exception. The transfer window’s shut (you can insert any other vowel of your choice if you wish) leaving me feeling underwhelmed, and a song from 1971 or thereabouts is in my mind. Not because I like it (I didn’t then and still don’t now). Not because it got to number 1 (it did, but then so did Benny Hill with a song about a milkman). It’s because of the refrain which starts the song and echoes throughout it.
Only, not quite. The song, “Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep” begins, “Where’s your momma gone?”, but my mind is playing it as “where’s the money gone?”
It has gone, and it’s a lot of money, which explains a great deal.
Malcolm Dawson writes….I turned on my new internet enabled telly last night to watch the Lads play the final warm up match against the might of Borussia Dortmund, more than a little worried by the starting line up. Worried because it seemed that the team had picked itself. No Larsson, no Kirchhoff, no Jones, no Defoe. A bench comprising academy players and Jordon Pickford. The absence of N’Zogbia hinted that there was no desire to offer him any sort of contract and as Pienaar wasn’t there it didn’t seem as if he was going to be added to the squad in the immediate future.
We all knew that the squad was threadbare but if proof were needed that we are in a poorer state than we were a year ago, it was here on the teamsheet. Having said that, the new kit looks good and the team played well I thought. In typical Sunderland fashion they struggled to keep possession for any meaningful length of time but kept their shape well and looked comfortable against last season’s Bundesliga runners up.
O’Shea played in Kirchhoff’s position and did well. Cattermole was Cattermole and let the opposition know he was there and Borini, Watmore and Khazri all had chances. Not a bad outing but with only a week to go still no signings. Then shortly after the game I logged onto safc.com and there it was. Our first signing of this window.
I must admit I know precious little about Papy Djilobodji except what I’ve read which is probably what most of you have read too, but Salut! Sunderland offers him a warm welcome. One of M Salut’s acquaintences, who happens to support Chelski rather cruelly described him as “think Gareth Hall but without the talent.” How anyone can reach that verdict when he played less than a minute for the London club is more than a little harsh I feel. Loaned out to Werner Bremen the Senegalese international effectively saved them from relegation with his defensive performances and his goal late in the season against Eintracht Frankfurt condemned them to the relegation play offs instead.
With Younis Kaboul’s injury record and John O’Shea’s advancing years centre back is an area that needed to be strengthened and hopefully Djilobodji will provide cover and competition for that position, just as long as it doesn’t mean the club is seriously considering offers for the goal machine that is Lamine Kone. So one signing and rumours that M’Vila is ready to put pen to paper on a four year deal is a start. Yedlin left out of Spurs’ overseas trip may be another hint that things are moving in the right direction but the club is keeping its cards close to its chest and we’ll just have to wait and see.
In the meantime, welcome Papy to the emotional rollercoaster that is Sunderland A.F.C.