Earlier today we published a section of our Roker Rapport Xtra Podcast with Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony - which will be out later this week, previewing our game at London Road on Saturday - in which the Posh chairman outlined how, from his point of view, how Sunderland’s discussions with his club went earlier this summer when discussing the possibility of Marcus Maddison heading north to join his boyhood club.
We knew we were going into the last year of Marcus Maddison’s contract and either we said to Marcus that “look, we’ll see if we can get you a move”, he’s served his time at Peterborough United in League One and if ever a player deserved to go to the Championship or a big football club, it’s Marcus - it would have to be a big football club outside the Championship.
Marcus Maddison is a Sunderland fan - I think everyone knows that from when he was a kid around that neck of the woods.
When we played you at our place - in April, the 1-1 - your manager had said to our gaffer ‘What a player that boy is, I really liked him last summer but we heard bad things about him and that’s why we didn’t go in for him’.
That was the conversation between the two gaffers.
So Barry [Fry] doing his job in June, started making phone calls because we need to know ahead of time if we are going to sell a player as we need to replace them.
He made a few calls to clubs in the Championship and said ‘look, everyone knows about his release clause but if we are going to do any business with Marcus, it’s got to be in June. Otherwise we’re probably not going to do any business’.
We knew Grant McCann wanted him at Hull, he got the job at the end of June. A bid that was made through his agent was derisory.
So Baz rang Richard [Hill] and they had a conversation in June and I was at a waterpark in Dubai when Barry rang me.
He said ‘Oh, I’ve spoke to Richard...”, I said ‘Did the Marcus thing come up?’ he said ‘yeah, I said your manager likes him, is there any interest?’ and Richard said to Barry along the lines of ‘We don’t rate him, I don’t anyway and there is no way that we will be bidding for Marcus Maddison.
Obviously I’m a big Marcus Maddison fan, so I’m like ‘are you kidding me?!’ and he goes ‘no, that’s what he said!’.
Roker Report reached out to Richard Hill this afternoon in an attempt to hear his side of the story, and the club’s Head of Football Operations gave a slightly different slant on what he felt really went on when he spoke to Barry Fry about Maddison’s availability:
Yes, I had a conversation with Barry Fry and it was about all things football as our conversations are. On this occasion Marcus Maddison was mentioned and I was asked if there was any interest, and was informed that there was a buy out clause in his contract of £2.5m - I said that at that money he was not for me.
What I will say, though, is at the end of this season when Marcus Maddison’s contract has expired, then that’s a totally different conundrum in my opinion.
He then added:
I’ve had my right to reply about the situation to the Sunderland fans, which is important to me, and now it’s best for me to just remain professional and keep those views to myself.