Chris Maguire’s Sunderland debut could have started better. He gave away a penalty just nine minutes in to his first competitive game as he raced back to cover the left-back position vacated by Adam Matthews. But, like the majority of our team, his performance dramatically improved after half-time. He rolled his socks up and started to dictate much of our attacking play.
We heard from Bury fan Pete Taylor earlier this summer on what to expect from a player we signed for a free in June. Understandably, he was critical of Maguire’s performances. A mixture of cultural problems, having Lee Clark as the manager, and Bury’s poor team performances meant that Maguire under-performed.
However, he had arrived from Oxford with a reputation as a cult hero.
So in the interest of fairness, we caught up two long-term season ticket holders at the Kassam to run the rule over our new, enigmatic left-winger. We sat down with Dan and his dad Terry Trinder and asked them about Chris Maguire.
Dan Parker (DP): Hi guys, firstly can you introduce yourselves and say how long you’ve been supporting Oxford United?
Dan Trinder (Dan): Hi, was given no choice by my Dad so I’ve been supporting Oxford since I was born.
Terry Trinder (Terry): I’ve been supporting Oxford since 1969 and I’ve had a season ticket ever since they started issuing them!
DP: When Maguire made the move to Sunderland, what was your first reaction?
Dan: Surprised. Thought it was a good piece of business for you, particularly on a free.
Terry: I’ll be honest, I didn’t care that much, although don’t fancy playing against him when he comes to the Kassam!
DP: What would you say are Maguire’s biggest strengths?
Dan: His skills and technique on the ball, plus his ability to wind the opposition fans, players, and team mascot up. He’s also the best set-piece taker you’ll have. His ability with a dead ball was his greatest strength at Oxford.
Terry: I couldn’t have put that any better myself.
DP: And what would you say are his weaknesses?
Dan: He doesn’t pass very much. He’s not the best player to have when your side is up against it as he will become even more selfish to try to get the job done on his own.
Terry: He’s certainly not a team player, that’s right. This is partly why I don’t think it worked out for him at Bury. He was given too much responsibility and he wasn’t enough of a team player to make that work.
DP: That’s concerning, has he got an attitude problem would you say?
Dan: Well I don’t know him personally! But I would say he was crap and a bit selfish in our Wembley final two years ago (JPT Final 2-1 loss to Coventry).
Terry: I’d go further than that. I’d say his attitude and selfishness cost us the win at Wembley. But other than that game, he never seemed to have an attitude problem. He was great for us in every home game we played that season and seemed to relish playing in front of a home crowd.
DP: What would you say is Maguire’s best position?
Dan: Either as a number ten or cutting in from the left wing. I saw he played the latter in your first game and think that could work if you have a strong powerful number 9 to hold the ball up for him.
Terry: For us it was as a number ten. But for you, honestly, probably from the bench given your attacking options. And he’s one hell of a player to have on the bench.
DP: Does one particular game stand out as a big performance?
Dan: He was brilliant against Swansea in the cup at home. Worked hard on and off the ball and looked like an elite player. He was also excellent vs our rivals Swindon and wound them up no end. He scored two goals that day and all the Swindon fans must have absolutely hated him!
Terry: The Swindon game would be my pick of those two.
DP: Why do you think Maguire was unable to replicate his Oxford form at Bury?
Dan: I’m pinning all of that on Bury. They were a mess last season on and off the pitch and he wasn’t able to transfer the performances that made him an Oxford cult hero to Bury because of that.
Terry: I think he needs good players around him. He was in a half-decent team at Oxford and it looks like he has that again at Sunderland this season.
DP: Thanks lads! Right. You’ve got three words to sum up Chris Maguire for all Sunderland fans... go!
Terry: I’m going to let Dan take this one as he always has a way with words...
Dan: Talented Scottish Sh*thouse!