Stoke Chairman Peter Coates has blasted his Sunderland counterparts for the collapse of the deal to take Lee Cattermole to the Potteries.
Cattermole looked all set for a deadline day move when Sunderland reportedly agreed a deal for the midfielder - described as an 'impressive' offer by Gus Poyet - but it never materialised leaving Stoke frustrated.
Coates told BBC Radio 5 Live:
The Lee Cattermole deal is dead. We thought that was going to happen and it hasn't - we're not quite sure why. We thought there was a deal to be done, but now there isn't. You need to ask Sunderland about that.
The reason it fell through isn't all that clear at this point. Poyet confirmed that if Cattermole was to leave, then he would have to be replaced, so the simplest explanation is that Sunderland were unable to secure a replacement. May be the player decided he'd rather stick around and play in a cup final?
There are other, dafter, conspiracy theories around, such as suggesting that it was a deliberate trick by Poyet to undermine a rival's transfer activity and act of vengeance for what he believed to be a deliberate attempt to unsettle his squad before the recent game between the two clubs.
Where the truth lies, I don't know, but I am more inclined to believe the simplest explanation. I also must have missed the memo that declared Sunderland obligated to sell their players to relegation rivals.
I can understand Stoke's frustration, and Coates himself is one of the real gentlemen of football, but if you leave your business to the last minute, these are the risks you take really.
I think it has all been blown out of proportion a little. The important thing is that it has probably worked out for the best for Sunderland. That is what is important to us, anyway. We like Cattermole.