Q: What do you make of the decision made by Sunderland to sell George Honeyman to Hull?
Michael Graham says...
Its the right move at the right time. I like Honeyman and believe some of the stick he received was absolutely ridiculous. The fact he’s going to the level to which we are currently aspiring should tell everyone he wasn’t part of the problem. It won’t, but it should.
For me, though, this is more about Ethan Robson and, especially, Elliot Embleton. Right now, midfield is well stocked and while those two maybe aren’t quite at Honeyman’s level yet, they do offer a higher ceiling in terms of potential, so the club have to start investing game time into them. The same goes for George Dobson, who the club clearly like.
It just feels like this is the right deal for the club at the right time.
As for Honeyman himself, it’s a decent move for him too. He’s not going to get a fair crack from the fans, too many of whom have him too firmly entrenched in the Scapegoat role.
Did he ‘go missing’ at Wembley? No more so than ten others. Was he ‘a bottler’ in the penalty shootout? Only if you’re prepared to lay the same accusation at Niall Quinn, which people are not.
It’s just a good move for everyone, really, so well done for the club for recognising it. Selling the right players at the right time is, after all, just as important as buying well.
Tom Atkinson says...
It’s a genuinely bittersweet moment, if truth be told. On the one hand it’s a sensible deal because George has struggled to really find a position or role that he truly excels in. He’s not quick or tricky enough to be a winger; he’s not dynamic or creative enough to be a ten; he’s also not robust or technical enough to be a central midfielder. So, where does he fit when we have players who are naturally better in those positions?
On the other hand, however, he gives absolutely everything for the badge and he grafts non-stop. He’s a local lad and an academy product, so for us to lose someone like that, well it’s natural to feel some disappointment.
That being said, I think looking at this deal objectively then it’s a decent one for all parties. Sunderland get some cash, lose a fairly substantial wage to aid with SCMP, and potentially free up some room to bring in a reinforcement if Jack Ross feels he needs someone. Furthermore, this is something we will continue to do as we progress as a team: selling talent in order to ensure the club are self-sustainable.
One thing that has left a sour taste in my mouth are the fans that have celebrated the departure and generally abused George for months now. We pleaded for years to have a club filled with players playing for the badge versus mercenaries seeking a wage - Honeyman is just that. Criticizing poor performances is fair enough, but to constantly belittle and abuse someone who gives their all for the club - I don’t get it. Point out his flaws, state why you think he shouldn’t be in the team, but personal abuse... I hate it.
If I saw George tomorrow, I’d thank him for giving his all, and wish him well.
Jack Ford says...
Personally, I think this is a real shame, but I can’t overly blame Honeyman or the club.
George has always seemed like a cracking character, and a very solid player to me. Though I think he’s struggled at times with his new position as a 10, Honeyman has never been a player to let the team down, try anything less than his best, or get stupidly sent off or make a costly mistake.
Despite this, he’s been on the receiving end of abuse that in my opinion has often crossed the line from valid criticism of a footballer’s on-field performances, to rancid brainless personal abuse that does no one any favours. This is a local lad who clearly loves the club and was visibly proud to wear not only the shirt but the captain’s armband.
Perhaps it was because of this that he’s been held to unfairly high standards, but I really wouldn’t blame the lad for wanting to leave the toxicity and division that has surrounded him in the last season behind. While it is only Hull, I would say to the Honeyman skeptics that the fact he’s moving to the Championship says rather a lot.
For a player that is worse than rubbish in many fans’ eyes, last season Honeyman scored only 5 fewer goals and registered only 2 fewer assists than cult hero Aiden McGeady - a player who is the focal point of the entire team’s attack. Add his passion for the team that was evident in his celebrations at Walsall, and his unarguable work ethic and industry, and I think we’re potentially losing a player that could have offered the whole package in midfield.
However, with a year left on his deal, and with Ross clearly unable to play Honeyman in a position that got the best out of him or coach him into being a ‘true’ number ten, I can see why those at the top of the club have made the decision to cash in.
Ultimately, Donald, Methven, and co. simply cannot afford to let sentiment and what-ifs cloud their decision making when it comes to transfers. Sunderland’s recruitment team look to be doing a far better job at identifying and securing quality players than this time last year, and if this move helps deflate a terribly bloated raft of midfielders in the squad and invest funds elsewhere, I and many others will be glad.
Personally, I wish George all the best and have a feeling he’s going to make all those giving him abuse online and in the ground eat their words. And hopefully we can use the transfer fee and the saving in wages to reinforce our shallow wide attacking and left back options.
Morgan Lowrie says...
In a word - sensible. Honeyman wasn’t the best, nor was he the worst player in the squad.
Looking at the season ahead, in isolation, Sunderland have better players who can play in his position, who can also cover other areas of the field effectively. In the number 10 role, especially in the system Ross employs, there’s a lot of responsibility to create chances for a lone striker who can sometimes become isolated. The option of McGeady and Maguire does seem more productive, as well as McNulty all having the potential to make a greater impact, than the captain did last season.
Looking holistically, Honeyman had a great season in our doomed Championship campaign. With 9 goals and multiple assists, he was an important player that looked sure to kick on in a division with less than half the quality the Championship offers. Not getting as much time on the ball in League One was a factor, which team mate McGeouch also suffered from - the elephant in the room is quite clearly the captaincy.
The owners had the best intentions, and it would have been a no brainer at the time from their perspective. A set of fans devoid of any connection to a club essentially stripped bare, Honeyman’s appointment was one which should have unified the club and fans, a local lad carrying his team on an upward march.
As we all know, it didn’t quite work out that way. With the benefit of hindsight, Honeyman would never have been made captain, and he’s actually the biggest loser in all of this. After such an unexpected, but quality output in the Championship, 2018/19 should have been his season to kick on. Giving him the captaincy, although it speaks volumes of his character, was not the right decision. Less time to focus on his football, and more time becoming a focal point for abuse and blame, mostly over the top and unjustified, hampered progress, and the burden of the role sometimes seemed to big. A lack of experience sometimes saw George force elements of his play trying to be accountable, when better options were overlooked. That determination to force play also sucked away his instinctive movement off the ball, largely the reason he almost got into double figures the season prior.
Moving on Honeyman will leave only Gooch and Watmore left over from a squad tainted from the previous regime. Whilst I agree it probably is the best option for all parties, giving the club additional income, not causing a major detriment to the squad, it is majorly disappointing to see jubilation at his departure.
Despite your vote on his talent, George gave everything in red and white. The same characteristic those celebrating his departure passionately pined for from the mercenaries employed by the club in seasons gone by.
Chris Wynn says...
I think most people like me would agree with the decision if it’s confirmed Honeyman leaves for pastures new.
Any offer is worth considering for players going into the last year of their contract and even though he’s captain, Honeyman is no exception. I’m a fan of his character and I think there is a decent player in there somewhere, but I just don’t know what he is.
He has never convinced me he can influence and control games from central midfield, create things from out wide or as a number ten behind a lone striker or a front two.
Ross could never seem to find him a role where he would kick on and I don’t think he would have found his place this year. A fresh start could be a blessing for the player and be one less thing to divide fans in the important months ahead.
So, I’m sad to lose a player as dedicated as Honeyman was and a character who would lift others to greater effort in a red and white shirt, but balanced by the fact his role in the team wasn’t guaranteed in any position.
I think we’re in a better place than we were last season squad wise and I’d expect another attacking player to replace Honeyman.
I wish him all the best and we turn our attentions to Saturday as usual.