Yet Another New Era Beckons For Sunderland
“It’s the dawning of a new era at Sunderland!” I’ve uttered that phrase far too many times in the last 5-10 years and when you look back, nothing at all has really changed - and for all I may have been caught up in some hype on previous occasions, it’s completely different this time around.
July 22nd, 2013
I can understand some will need convincing, and some see what we’re doing as an incredible risk. Those who fall into the latter category are not wrong, but why is risk seen as such a bad thing? Especially at Sunderland.
Throughout the last 5-10 years we’ve had the same old theorems handed down from chairman to manager, to team. All that’s happened is we’ve continued to flirt relentlessly with relegation until it’s actually hit us.
Year upon year we’ve thought that whoever is in charge will change things. McCarthy, Keane, O’Neill, Bruce… Not one made any difference. We consistently brought in over-priced, over-pampered and over-rated Premier League “stars”… or rather, “rejects”.
These players all apparently had what it takes if you believe pretty much every pundit on TV; grit, determination, hunger and the somewhat bizarrely lauded “Premier League Experience” which all make up a team of so-called winners. How’d that work out for us? Oh… yeah…
Finally, FINALLY, Ellis Short came into the club and saw that the place needed ripping apart and starting again.
When he came in, he thought “Okay, I’ll do what the fans want” and we hired Martin O’Neill. We’d all wanted him for years ever since Peter Reid left the club. It seemed a dream appointment.
However as is usually the case, we fans were wrong. A few wins were followed by a seeming never-ending streak of tedium and disappointment.
Out he goes and in comes Paolo Di Canio for stage one of a revolution. A move which certainly raised eyebrows, but now with the grander and wider plan clearly being installed around Di Canio, it’s starting to look a shrewd move.
In all honesty Di Canio is little more than a puppet for the club’s new trio of power. Ellis Short, a quiet man who won’t tolerate any shenanigans or bull, and has a very shrewd eye for business.
Then there’s Roberto De Fanti: a man who looks like the love-child of Keith Lemon and Ray Winstone but certainly brings with him the right qualities for a Director of Football. He’s a former agent, with many contacts in Italy, Scandinavia and South America – all areas Sunderland could do with exploiting.
Then finally the man appointed by De Fanti – Valentino Angeloni as the club’s new scout; the man who created the now famous scouting and transfer model used by Udinese before he moved on to Inter Milan, where he was charged with recreating such a system. Having lured him away from the San Siro we can look for him to do the same here.
And it looks like things are working with nine (at time of writing) already through the door.
Modibo Diakite, Valentin Roberge, Vito Mannone, David Moberg Karlsson, Duncan Watmore, Cabral, El Hadji Ba, Jozy Altidore and Emanuele Giaccherini all represent a shift in the club’s mentality — a rag-tag bunch of young diamonds which need polishing and slightly more experienced players who can deliver from day one.
Only Vito Mannone, widely expected to be second choice goalkeeper this coming season, and Jozy Altidore have any experience of the Premier League, and even that is very limited.
For some reason this is a problem to many people. Phil Bardsley, Danny Graham, Craig Gardner, Lee Cattermole, James McFadden, Titus Bramble… They all have plenty of Premier League experience and that worked out pretty well didn’t it?
The fact of it is, we’re finally doing something our own way. If it blows up in our face, at least we did it whilst trying to make a change and make a difference.
Where people see risk, I see excitement. For some reason though the top ten feels much more likely though than another season battling relegation. Either way, it’s certainly going to be interesting.