I’m here today to eat my words.
I moaned in my blog on Monday that the Aiden McGeady transfer had dragged on for too long but, by jove, Everton pulled their fingers out of their arses and resolved the financial issue that was preventing us from getting the transfer over the line. And, just to add some extra spice, we signed Bury forward James Vaughan too as both players were announced on SAFC.com at the same time, much to my delight.
Maybe these things don’t take too long after all and I’m just mega impatient.
Aiden McGeady is a really exciting signing; the type of footballer that we’ve lacked at Sunderland ever since Stephané Sessegnon left in 2013. He’ll probably really fucking annoy us 90% of the time, but for the other ten percent we’ll see world class goals, amazing trickery and a player with genuine class and ability on the ball. Plus, it only cost us a nominal fee in order to secure his services, and I’m more than ok with that.
For a few years now (probably since Sessegnon left now that I think about it) I’ve been immensely bored watching Sunderland for the most part, so it’ll be nice to see a skillful player pull on the shirt that is worth paying the price of a ticket for. I’m positively salivating at the prospect of Wahbi Khazri staying around next season to link up with McGeady in attack, threading balls through to our forwards with alarming regularity.
The far less sexually-exciting James Vaughan is here to give us options in a position that desperately needs strengthening and I’m happy that he’s here. Someone remarked to me yesterday that this situation is a bit like if we had stayed in the Premier League and then signed Chris Wood from Leeds - we’re plucking a player from the division below us that comes in on the back of a fantastic season. The fee - around £500k initially - is nominal when compared to the money we’ve spunked on shite like Jack Rodwell in recent years.
Let’s not balk at the fact that he’s came to Sunderland from a club in a lower league. We’re better than that. Be happy that we’re signing someone that is ambitious and wants to play at this level for a club of our stature.
This is the dawning of a new era at Sunderland. We no longer have a Premier League budget to work with, and finding value in players like Vaughan and McGeady is what will separate us from the rest of the clubs that will be expecting to challenge for promotion next season in the Championship. Aston Villa, for example, have invested significantly in recent years and have the star power of John Terry to fall back on but, due to our own financial situation, we’re having to take a different angle this time around and being creative with our limited budget is key. It’s not impossible to remain competitive with the big spenders providing we target the right type of characters - we just have to hope that Simon Grayson’s knowledge of both men, having worked with them previously at other clubs, is sound and that they’ll contribute immensely in the coming months and years.
For too long now Sunderland have spent big on players that feel like they’re doing this club a favour by being here and I’m really fucking sick to death of it.
Give me a James Vaughan over a Fabio Borini any day - he might not be a big name but he’s keen to prove himself at this football club and you can guarantee that his dedication will shine through in his performances on the pitch.
It’s time to adopt a more no-nonsense approach to the way we recruit new players.
So to McGeady and Vaughan I say this: please, never treat this football club like a doormat. Never take for granted just how fantastic an opportunity this is for the both of you.
Whenever you speak to or see a Sunderland fan be constantly aware that these passionate supporters have been badly burnt in recent years by players and managers that simply were not willing to treat our club with the basic amount of respect that was expected of them.
We need to feel loved. We need to see your desire and commitment to this football club shine through in your performances on the pitch.
Give us your all, lads. It’s all that we ever ask.