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SAFC TransferWipe: Moyes Comments On Recruitment Budget Are Alarmingly Familiar

In today's TransferWipe: Comments made by the Chief Executive and the Manager of Sunderland AFC within 24 hours of each other have hinted at a mixed message emanating from the Stadium of Light over January expectations. Of more concern is that this is merely the latest in a long line of managers bemoaning that the reality of their tenure does not match what was in the brochure.

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

David Moyes Comments Are Nothing New

I knew I had a short summer and I wasn’t going to do much business in the summer, because it was really difficult.

But I did expect to be able to do some business in January.

That's what the Sunderland manager said last night, as most of you will be aware by now. His comments are all the more startling when considered against the interview that Chief Executive, Martin Bain, conducted just 24 hours earlier:

The word I’ve got for you is 'limited'. I could probably say 'very limited' with regards to the January transfer window. We are not going to be able to spend to get out of trouble. There will be people who will argue that we did that last year and it worked, I recognise that.

Was this a ploy between the two key players in the Sunderland hierarchy? Or does the left hand really not have a clue what the right one is saying? Has Martin Bain turned fall guy to deflect criticism from the manager he has declared that the club is "lucky" to have? Possibly.

Remember, this comes but four months since Moyes arrived claiming he had received "guarantees and reassurances about what we can do".

But, this is hardly the first time a Sunderland manager has uttered such words. In fact, a cursory glance through recent campaigns reveals a startlingly similar pattern emerging - managers at the Stadium of Light continually bemoaning either being kept in the dark about what they have to spend or declaring that the amount they have had at their disposal is insufficient.


Sam Allardyce

Allardyce was widely acknowledged as growing increasingly frustrated with how the summer window was panning out. The now former-England boss had anticipated that Ellis Short would pay heed to his advice and reward him with the funds required to push the club to progress beyond its annual fight for survival. When that did not happen Big Sam grew exasperated until the FA gave him the ultimate escape route.

(May 2016) The most important thing is me recruiting the players which will help the club get better. You will have to pay so much to get the players because if we don’t do it, someone else will.

(July 2016) I have to admit myself that my patience is wearing thin – very, very thin indeed.

Dick Advocaat

The most vocal of Ellis Short's managers to voice their displeasure at his perceived treatment over transfer budget, the veteran coach has been scathing about the club's recruitment policy and his view that he had been kept in the dark about what he would be able to do.

(August 2015) If you see what the other teams are spending compared with us, that is also a concern.

(October 2015) Our squad was simply not good enough. The club knew we had to strengthen, but the chairman never told me know much we could spend.

(November 2015) Sunderland simply cannot go on this way because other clubs invest in the team - they spend money on good players and, if you don’t do it, you are in trouble because there’s too much quality elsewhere in the Premier League to expect to survive every year.

Gus Poyet

The Uruguayan has actually been more guarded since he left than when he was in post. Poyet had grown increasingly frustrated with the calibre of players the Director of Football structure at the club was supplying him with. Since he left, Poyet has made allusions to 'something' being wrong at Sunderland's core.

(December 2014) You know what is missing — it is clear what we need to do. That is down to recruitment. I am a head coach. I am not going to be a head coach when it suits people and a manager when it doesn’t. That side of it is down to recruitment. So, if you ever get the chance to speak to anyone on the recruitment side and ask them about it (signing players), you are lucky. If you don’t, don’t ask me.

(October 2016) There’s something inside Sunderland, something at its very core. There’s something there, something I couldn’t find. If I knew what it was I’d say but I don’t. But it’s there and needs to be changed at the root.

Roberto De Fanti

The, admittedly, disastrous Director of Football has vociferously stated that he was on a strict remit to cut all spending on transfer fees and wages during his seven months in post.

(February 2015) My job was to reduce the salaries, spend as little as possible, sell the two best players.

Though perhaps one lesson has been learnt at the football club as De Fanti recalled his frustration at keeping the club's supporters in the dark over the instructions he received:

My regret is that we were not allowed a press conference where we would have explained to the fans what a difficult season we had ahead of us because of these financial difficulties. It would have been more honest and would have lowered the expectations. Why weren’t we allowed? You should ask Sunderland’s media office. Although it’s easy to understand why.


What Now?

Has David Moyes simply leapt aboard the band-wagon occupied by previous managers and got his excuses in early? Or is the starkly contrasting message from CEO and first team boss evidence of a new divide at the Stadium of Light? Why is David Moyes so startled that he won't receive a penny in January?

Whatever the reason - and it may simply be a matter of interpretation - the message has not been relayed as clearly as it should be. And perhaps someone from within the Sunderland hierarchy will be on hand to address the confusion. David Moyes will surely be asked to clarify his post-match, post-defeat comments at Friday's press conference.