I’d like to think I’m a patient, reasonable man, but for me the events of the last few weeks have very much been the straw which broke Lamine Koné’s hurty back. There’s no way that somebody should be allowed to carry on the way that Koné has, and then actually get what they want. None.
It’s not easy supporting Sunderland at the best of times, and this summer has been far from the best of times. The best manager we’ve had for years gone, key players dropping like flies, new signings thin on the ground and the kind of quality players we’d all hoped we’d see coming through the door sadly failing to materialise. But, even in times of adversity, some things must be maintained. It’s time for Sunderland to show a bit of self-respect.
Before we go any further, let’s just remember who we’re talking about here. A year ago, none of us had heard of Lamine Koné. This isn’t Lee Cattermole, with seven years of loyal service, asking for the chance to move on to pastures new. This isn’t Jermain Defoe, Premier League legend, nearly six hundred games and two hundred and fifty goals to his name. This is Lamine Koné. Six months, sixteen games, and suddenly he’s bigger than Sunderland AFC? No chance.
Let me be clear. It’s not the fact that Koné wants to move that’s annoyed me. It’s the way he’s handled it. First he wants a contract. Then he doesn’t. He’s hurt his back, or maybe he hasn’t. Throughout the whole process he has spectacularly failed to give the club, the manager, his fellow players and the fans the least that we all deserve, a bit of respect. Well, enough.
Lamine Koné is six months into a four year contract at Sunderland AFC. He is a Sunderland player, and he needs to start acting like it. For my money, Koné should be given two options. You make yourself available for the first team, and play to the best of your ability, or you sit in the reserves for the next four years and you rot. Koné is twenty seven years old. Tell him he’s not kicking a ball again until he’s thirty one, see what he’s posting on his twitter then.
Koné is a good player for Sunderland. A key player. I’ve no problem giving him a new contract to reflect that. But he’s not bigger than the team, not bigger than the club. Moyes and Bain need to tell him, you sign for Sunderland or you sign for nobody, because we’re not going to budge. There comes a time when, for your own sake, you need to draw a line in the sand. This is that time.