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The diary of a Sunderland Fan: #6 - Our days of spending big are over, thank God

Not one Sunderland supporter is happy to see us in such a mess financially, but it’s important that we don’t let our big-spending Championship rivals distract us from our own bigger picture.

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

Nothing has changed over night, as far as I can tell - Sunderland are still pretty skint.

We no longer have the budget to go out and make eight-figure signings every summer and it’s going to take some very clever accounting in order for us to lay down a significant sum on any player, regardless of the money we make from outgoing sales in this transfer window.

James Vaughan (Bury’s Player of the Year) and Aiden McGeady (Preston’s Player of the Year) were signed for around £750,000 combined - immense value for two in-form players, all things considered. Add to that the loan signings of Premier League defenders Ty Browning and Brendan Galloway and it’s fair to say that Grayson’s transfer dealings so far have been unspectacular, yet sensible.

I get it though. It’s hard not to get jealous when you see clubs like Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and Wolverhampton Wanderers throw down huge sums of money in order to sign talented players but we have to remain focused on the bigger picture here at Sunderland.

It’s definitely possible to make a successful charge towards promotion with a limited budget, provided that the right characters are leading the team off the pitch and that the players on it are buying into their ideas.

Huddersfield Town - last season’s Championship play-off final winners - can fully attest to that.

I’d love to see the likes of Britt Assombalonga and Ruben Neves at Sunderland but, as we are all aware, we can’t afford to take such huge risks when signing players any more, and just because other clubs feel as though throwing money at their problems will help them to achieve promotion it doesn’t mean that we should do the same.

Let’s take a step back and think about the catastrophic decisions made in the past that have led us to where we are today; for now at least, the days of big spending at Sunderland are gone.

And good riddance. I’m happy enough to see us strip this club back to the bare bones, starting again with players that haven’t arrived with unrealistic expectations and egos inflated because of the size of the fee that got them here in the first place.

Hartlepool v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly
Sunderland have made expensive pre-season signings in recent times and, more often than not, we end up ruing our mistakes.
Photo by Richard Sellers/Getty Images

Tonight we head to Hartlepool to take on a club that are in a similar situation to ourselves, albeit on a much smaller scale. Having found themselves relegated from the Football League, our nearby neighbours have embarked upon a complete rebuild this summer with a new, ambitious manager in place that wants to get the club back to where it belongs. Sounds familiar, eh?

There are three things in life that are certain - death, taxes and Sunderland playing Hartlepool in pre-season. At least we can take light relief from the fact that England won’t steal our manager during half time of this year’s game.