Dear Roker Report,
For the most part I have no sympathy at all for Didier Ndong, who has now apparently resorted to begging for scraps of money from fellow footballers and I hope he continues to suffer for a while yet. I certainly hope he never plays professional football at any significant level ever again.
He earned tens of thousands of pounds a week for doing virtually nothing and if he’s gone through that much money already, he’s a prize fool and has only himself to blame. He also had a perfectly good way out with the deal offered by Torino yet decided not to take it because he mistakenly thought he was worth more and clubs would be falling over themselves to sign his great talent. The fact that he’d totally failed to shine, even at a terrible club like Sunderland and then failed completely and spectacularly at Watford didn’t seem to dent his belief that he was one of the world’s most desirable footballers.
Unfortunately, the only people on the planet who actually believed that was his agent and himself! Ndong created this situation, not Sunderland and Ndong is the one who gave Sunderland everything they needed to effectively destroy his career.
How many clubs will want to sign a player with such a terrible attitude and totally unprofessional approach? How many clubs would also shell out £4m to sign him at all given how poor he’s been? How many clubs would want to sign a player so obviously out of condition and would take months to get ready to play?
So where is the very small amount of sympathy I do have for him? Well, you’d have to look very hard to find it but I think it’s fair to say that he has been catastrophically advised by his agent, who appears to be every bit as greedy and deluded as Ndong himself.
Ndong is a young man who has been destroyed by football because he’s never really had to face up to the harsh realities of life before due to the unrealistic bubble in which modern footballers live. He has effectively been a very spoilt child and his behaviour with Sunderland has been exactly the same as a very young and spoilt child but I think he is what modern football has made him.
I have no doubt that when he returned to Sunderland, he was genuinely prepared to take a pay cut and fight for his place. Why? I think there were a number of factors but chief amongst them was the fact that he could no longer deny the fact that he simply wasn’t a very desirable footballer who could command top dollar. His agent had touted him all over the world and come up with absolutely no interested parties. With all of the transfer windows closed, he was out of options and could no longer live in denial.
He’d also seen what had happened to Papy and was at least sensible enough to return offering to take a pay cut and fight for his place rather than returning for nothing more than another petulant tantrum. All of this was, of course, nothing more than a last throw of the dice. Such a public climb down would be humiliating but at least he’d still be a professional footballer earning some money and could perhaps shine in League 1 and reignite his career ready for the January transfer window.
If he’d had that attitude from the outset, I think he’d be in a very good position right now and could well have moved on in January, at least to a Championship side but he probably always knew that making the offer he did on his eventual return was likely to fail. Ndong is gone, certainly not missed by anyone at Sunderland and is unlikely, in my opinion, to ever play football at a significant level again. The harsh reality is that nobody will ultimately miss Ndong in football and he will soon be forgotten as anything but a prize fool who flushed his own career down the toilet and only has himself to blame.
In a way, it might also be argued that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time because had the Chuckle Brothers still been running Sunderland, I have no doubt he would have been welcomed back with open arms and his full salary. His mistake was in assuming the new regime would be the same. They’re not!
Sunderland are a different club now and it’s a club with a bright future. Our new owners have played the Ndong situation perfectly and sent a very clear message to all agents and players that they can’t take us for a ride any longer. Long may that continue.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: Yeah, I think you’ve nailed it with your assessment there Andrew. It’s natural to take pleasure from his demise, but if you take a step back and look at it fully I think it’s clear to see that not only is this just a very stupid person, but someone that is badly represented.
His agents obviously had their own interests first and foremost and the money that they were asking for when trying to put deals together were killing the interest of clubs that genuinely wanted him. He could have gone to Torino or Benfica if they’d been sensible, but they weren’t and, as a result, he’s now in a very bad situation.
I agree with you - this fella probably won’t play at a decent level ever again. Amazing, really.