Billy Jones Is Back
Yesterday, I wrote that Donald Love was hoping to be the answer, having joined a queue containing the likes of Paddy McNair patiently waiting for the question.
Well, today it’s the turn of another fringe first team player to declare that his return to fitness is just the thing that we have all been waiting for.
"There’s nothing better than getting changed and putting your shinnies on and being a part of things again."
"Personally, as a player you want that competition for places in the squad, it pushes everyone on. The club went out and signed players and brought quality in to strengthen our squad which is good."
"Having strength in depth is massive in the Premier League, the club have tried to do that with their recruiting in the transfer window."
"It was a chance to attack more from full-back, which is what I try to do when I’m playing for the first team as well."
Tricky Ricky Alvarez - Heard It All Before
The story of Ricardo Alvarez is pretty well documented – Sunderland signed him on loan, it didn’t work out, we sent him back to Inter claiming he had a dodgy knee, but Inter didn’t want him back either and demanded we pay for him, claiming the buy-on clause in the agreement between the clubs meant Sunderland were obliged to sign him. For our part, Sunderland had argued his injury negated any permanent deal.
So, Ricky went into exile in Argentina for a while, got himself fit and signed for Sampdoria as a freebie for the Genoa-based outfit.
And, fair play to the man – he has received decent plaudits in Italy for his performances since then.
But, like that buy-now-pay-later thing that you have yet to pay for, but which now lies broken, the Ricky Alvarez deal has loomed over Sunderland for over a year. The case has already been before a FIFA committee but Sunderland appealed the outcome. The final decision rests with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Even if the CAS conclude that Sunderland must pay up, as a club we have no ownership of him. Neither Inter or Sunderland included Alvarez as part of their squads due to the wrangle over the transfer fee, so he was a free agent when Sampdoria snapped him up.
This story has flared up from time to time and occasionally threatened a conclusion, usually each story originated in the Italian media, who are by and large a dreadful source of factual information.
Lots of Italian websites simply write whatever they heck the feel like and hope for the best. The line most of them have taken over the Alvarez story has been that Sunderland have their money and they want it back.
This latest round of stories either began in The Express or in its direct rival, The Daily Mail, yesterday. The only hint in those stories of the origin of the latest chapter in the sorry tale is a shadowy reference to "sources inside the club".
What is almost certain, however, is that the story appeared again on Italian websites late last week, and is quite probably where the Mail actually got it from.
Admittedly, this saga simply has to reach a conclusion at some point; but with the plethora of faked final chapters which have already run, we’re pretty suspicious.
It was former Evening Chronicle journalist Craig Hope who ran the story in the Mail. Hope has been furiously agitating against Sunderland since the summer – pretty much since his beloved Newcastle were relegated.
We’ve already endured Hope’s hope that Sunderland are rotten in various pieces he has written of late; not least his assertion that a scout leaving meant we were in dreadful disarray; and conclusive proof last week that David Moyes doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Someone needs to put a reign on Craig Hope. He might hurt a horse with all this flailing around.
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