In a way it’s really impressive that the Americans have managed to combine two polar opposite days and place them back to back.
Where Thanksgiving is supposed to be about family, friends and being thankful - Black Friday is about combat, survival and rugged individualism. They could not be any more different if they tried, and their combination acts as a reminder as to just how bizarre America truly is.
Yet as I sat yesterday with a roast dinner in front of me, browsing the potential deals of the century, I couldn’t help but think that Sunderland are in a similar position to many Americans this Thanksgiving season.
On the one hand, Sunderland should be giving thanks for a tremendous November.
Two impressive wins with a key group of players stepping to the fore and battling for the badge has certainly lifted spirits, while David Moyes has found success with an interesting 4-3-3 formation which is getting the best out of Victor Anichebe, who at this moment in time looks absolutely unplayable. On top of the positive results on the pitch, the club’s new campaign to re-engage with the fans off the pitch has further buoyed the feel-good factor surrounding the club. Charlie Hurley day was a great success and the atmosphere generated at the Stadium of Light pre-match must surely be considered as a factor in the impressive victory against Hull.
On the other hand, the injury curse that has blighted the squad this season continues to claim victims.
Paddy McNair and Lee Cattermole are the latest to join the list whilst Sebastian Larsson and Jan Kirchhoff are slowly making their way back to full fitness. The paper-thin squad has struggled to get the ball rolling, so to speak, and many believe that Moyes and co. will need to strengthen significantly if we are to propel ourselves to safety once more. Black Friday sales are often a time when people throw money at things they want, but Sunderland can’t afford to be so cavalier come January.
With Financial Fair Play and our salary cap providing serious obstacles in the way of player recruitment, any acquisitions will have to be very well considered. Unfortunately we won’t be the ones taking part in the mad frenzy of sale-driven mania; we might, however, need to confirm some sales of our own in order to participate on the buying end. Sebastian Coates, Adam Matthews, Jeremain Lens and Will Buckley are all still technically Sunderland players and permanent moves in January could help create some financial leeway enabling us to strengthen the current squad.
That being said, we have all of December to worry about results and transfers; now is a time to bask in the winning glory of November’s heroic antics.
We can be thankful for recent performances, but there are certainly some important decisions lying just on the horizon. Thankfully our early season turkeys have turned the corner; hopefully it’s the start of something special.