THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

1 September ~ It's been a surreal few days in which to support Sunderland. On Sunday morning a friend of mine jogged through the Manchester City squad as they took a morning constitution along Seaburn seafront. As Carlos Tevez made an incredible open goal miss at the Stadium of Light a few hours later my friend was claiming to have "got inside the head" of the Man City forward with a thumbs up gesture on the promenade. Tevez's mistake was the game's turning point and Sunderland went on to deservedly win 1-0 over a £270 million starting line-up. Then, yesterday evening, my club made the most expensive signing of the transfer deadline day with a fee only beaten by Man City and Chelsea this summer. It just all seems so out of character.

There's no doubt that Sunderland have taken a risk by breaking their transfer record on signing Ghana international Asamoah Gyan. And the £13m paid to Rennes has clearly been hugely inflated by his three goals at this summer's World Cup. But, as I spent yesterday manually refreshing automatic transfer updates, I began to justify a bigger and bigger price to myself. It's not that I agree politically or morally with the obscene sums of money involved, especially in a recession. I know it might not work out and that some fans of other clubs are laughing at us. I really only know Gyan from his World Cup performances and hazy YouTube clips of Ligue 1 games prove very little.

But with some justification I worked out that, with the sales of Lorik Cana, Kenywne Jones, Daryl Murphy and Martyn Waghorn, among others, Sunderland's net spend wasn't really all that much. I began to imagine how Gyan might provide chances for Darren Bent. I hate to admit it but despite my fears, and against my better nature, it's all really quite exciting. And I've watched lots of YouTube clips.

Sunderland's next game is away to Wigan, a fixture that last season came after a 1-0 home win over Arsenal. After losing at Wigan, the team went a further 13 league games without another victory. If anything similar happens this season my childish optimism will take a major blow. But, for now, I just want to get on with it and see our very expensive new striker in action. For Sunderland supporters the international break could not have come at a worse time. Ed Upright


Comments (4)
Comment by rckd 2010-09-01 23:08:11

I was talking to a friend of mine this evening about the Gyan signing. The point that we definitely agreed on was that both of us would have been pleased to have our clubs sign him (I'm Birmingham, he's Villa - 'friend' is a term I use loosely) but not at that price. Not even near that price in fact.

Sunderland seem to have a knack of overspending massively. Is Gyan really going to improve Sunderland's prospects to the value of £13million? Presumably a player of his transfer value isn't on miserly wages either. It just seems an obscene amount to be spending on someone that is, unless I am to be disproven, unlikely to affect the club in a way that will earn them several league positions. If he ends up flopping (though I presume he'll do okay - he really looked a handful throughout the World Cup and I even remember him being very sharp - albeit raw - in 2006), then will Sunderland really be able to recoup that sort of money?

If it had been Birmingham signing Gyan at that price, I'd have been unhappy. I was gutted when we missed out on N'Zogbia but pleased at the manager and board's resolve to stand by their principles and not be bullied into over-exerting the wage structure. Since Gold and Sullivan have left, there has been a concerted effort to understand where we stand in the footballing world and not to overindulge or get carried away, which I think is a commendable model compared to the approaches that some clubs make (see: any club in dire straits that was doing okay five years ago.)

Comment by rckd 2010-09-01 23:11:03

I'm forced to review what I just wrote when I realised that Sunderland somehow made a profit on Kenwyne Jones. If Sunderland can rely on other clubs overspending on their players as much as they overspend themselves, then there is little to worry about.

Comment by Dalef65 2010-09-03 17:34:00

I couldnt agree more with rckd,s comments in the second paragraph of the first post.
£13 Million for a player who had a halfway decent world cup?
Willing worker yes,but still to be seen whether he can do it consistently over a full league season.
I have the suspiscion that he will turn out to be a limited player who simply had a decent couple of games in South Africa.
£13 Million.....???For Asamoah Gyan....???

Comment by smcgiffen 2010-09-05 14:39:33

Though I'm a Boro fan, I have come to loathe Newcastle so all-consumingly that I no longer have any real ill-will left for Sunderland. So I just hope this guy, who looked pretty decent in the World cup, doesn't turn into your Alves. Have a good season, and please stuff the Mags - twice.

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