Shrewd business, quality Bosmans and more lunacy from the clowns up the road. Welcome to an optimistic pre-season for Sunderland...
It’s the silly season in football – do you love it or hate it?
I love it. You can't beat a bit of transfer bulls**t bingo. Anyone and everyone can be a sports journalist. Pick a club, pick a player, pick a figure. “Ere, I've heard Joe Cole's off to Barca for £26m. Seriously.”
The truth is even more mental. Stuart Downing. £20m?! Madness. Mind, it'll take some going to top the Mags shifting Andy Carroll for £35m in the last window. Someone needs to check Kenny Dogleash's medication.
Aside from that, we've made some shrewd and exciting signings.
This summer what are you hoping to read every time you check your club news each morning?
Dalglish has banged in a £20m offer for Cristian Riveros – he's got about the same amount of Premier League experience as Carroll. Other than that, I've got faith in Steve Bruce. He's done well so far in this window.
What do you inevitably end up reading instead?
More brainless hilarity from them up the road. Honestly, you couldn't make this sh*t up: Newcastle fans. Invading the pitch. At Darlington. In a pre-f**king-season friendly.
If Ameobi – not Shola, his younger, equally feckless younger brother, Sammy – scoring in a meaningless game against non-league opposition incites such an embarrassing show of educationally subnormal jubilation and inexplicable anger, what would happen if they actually won whatever trophy the deluded 'Geordie Nation' unfathomably believe they're entitled to?
A festival of inbreeding and human sacrifice down the Bigg Market, presumably – the Tyne running red with the blood of virgins. Although, I'm being ridiculous now. Virgins? On Tyneside? Why aye.
Rumours of Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe have whistled through Wearside recently, but neither appear to want to leave That London for a Third World city like Sunderland.
Got much cash in the kitty?
It appears so. We've spent big the past few pre-seasons – including some bonkers, scandalously overpriced acquisitions in the Roy Keane era – but John O'Shea and Wes Brown are sharp signings by Bruce, while David Vaughan, Keiren Westwood and Sebastian Larsson in particular are cracking Bosmans.
Connor Wickham is more of a risk considering the price and his relatively little experience, but a properly exciting prospect nonetheless. As for the young Korean, he's worth every penny just to be able to sing the following song:
He shoots... He scores... He eats your labradors... Ji Dong-Won!!!
Hulking midfielder? Tricky winger? Big b*stard defender? What types of players would you like to sign this summer?
A hulking, tricky, big b**tard goalscorer, if that's an option? And a proven Premier League goalscorer one at that. Rumours of Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe have whistled through Wearside recently, but neither appear to want to leave That London for a Third World city like Sunderland – and both have hardly been in career-best form. Little do they know we have more Greggs bakeries per square mile than anywhere else in the world. Your loss, lads.
What types of player will you end up signing instead? An U21 Moldovan left back instead of a Spanish international forward perhaps?
Crouch or Defoe, probably, turning out at an extortionate price in their career-worst form. And because Sunderland is sooo s**t compared to That London, they'll become addicted to Greggs steak bakes, because that's the only thing to fill the void left by sh*gging all those Hollyoaks birds, scally models and hookers, like they used to in That London. And they'll become really fat because of all the steak bakes, ending up as immobile as Jan Mølby on ketamine. And they'll have to go back to That London, but not back to Spurs, back to That London to retire, because 'Arry won't re-re-sign them again, not in their pastry-saturated state. Your loss, lads.
Who wants to leave the club and what’s your attitude towards them?
Everyone from Real Madrid to Stoke have purportedly been sniffing around Asamoah Gyan – although that appears to be nothing more than tabloid mischief, rather than the player getting itchy feet or the club looking to sell him on.
The last high-profile want-away was, of course, Darren Bent in the previous transfer window, who is still highly thought of in these parts – as a disloyal, mercenary, deceitful, disrespectful pr**k. It's difficult to understand why, other than money, he left for Villa. Apparently he'd been having his way with Bruce's daughter, but she's got her Dad's nose so, rather than getting stick for it, he should be commended for breaking the stereotype that footballers are shallow.
It'll be interesting to see how his “big opportunity” at Villa pans out this season now they're flogging all their best players, under a manager nobody really wants.
Bringing in Alexi Lalas to play up front for News International has turned out to be a disastrous signing.
Who has been the biggest t*sser of this transfer window?
All the sh*thawk money-grabbing sulks that think the grass is always greener: Cesc Fabregas, Luka Modric, Samir Nasri et al. And Rupert Murdoch. Bringing in Alexi Lalas to play up front for News International has turned out to be a disastrous signing.
Reckon you’ll be stronger or weaker next season?
Stronger, definitely. In the duo from United and Larsson, we've signed quality proven at the highest level, Vaughan has also shown he's got the ability to compete in the top flight. The two forwards, Wickham and Dong-Won, will probably need time to adjust, but they're both physically capable of doing well in the Premier League.
Any other news?
Did I mention the Mags' pitch invasion at Darlo? Virgins, indeed...
What has been the best ever bit of business your club did in the transfer window?
The best bit of business in my lifetime, and arguably ever, was the signing Kevin Phillips – half a million quid from Watford in 97. Super Kev smashed club records for fun – most consecutive goals, first player since Brian Clough to score 30+ in a season, Premiership Golden Boot, only Englishman to win European Golden Boot, the list goes on – and he was instrumental in a couple of seventh place Prem finishes.
Although still a solid journeyman today, you feel he could have went on to bigger and better things had he left Sunderland in his prime – receiving a criminal amount of chances for England considering his form – but we're pleased he didn't and his legacy as a proper hero on Wearside is assured forever.
And the worst?
Two words: Milton. Núñez. This must be one of the greatest worst transfers of all time. The imposing Honduran striker, standing at 4’10” tall, arrived in Sunderland either as the result of a case mistaken identity – Peter Reid thought he was signing his not useless, not midget strike partner at PAOK – or because the player fed the club a sack of sh*t about both his height and international playing credentials. No one really knows.
Whatever went on, it was a monumental f**k-up and the little b*stard only made two appearances for us before we tried, unsuccessfully, to get back the money we paid for him and sent him packing to f**k knows where.
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