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