On the spot
Sunderland are the best penalty takers in English football by a distance over the last decade according to figures released by the Press Association.
The PA looked at all penalties taken from the 2010-11 to date and in that period Sunderland have had 42 penalties, converting 39 of them, a success rate of 92.9% and making them the only club to have a success rate of over 90% - other than Salford City who have scored their only penalty to date, since becoming a Football League club this summer.
During that period the team had one run of 26 consecutive, successful penalties and Jermain Defoe scored six, Craig Gardner five and Fabio Borini four without missing with Adam Johnson, Darren Bent, Lewis Grabban, Lynden Gooch and Jordi Gomez all three from three and Aiden McGeady four from five.
Advocaat full of praise for Cattermole
Lee Cattermole is busy making himself a cult hero in the Netherlands after joining VVV-Venlo on a free transfer this summer.
The club’s technical director Stan Valckx revealed that he sought former Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat’s advice before signing the midfielder, with Advocaat expressing surprise at Cattermole’s choice but being full of praise for the player:
I called Dick Advocaat. He was his coach at Sunderland in the past.
He was like: Does he want to go to VVV? Does he want to go to the Netherlands? A player with so much experience?
Advocaat was quite surprised, but full of praise for Cattermole. Not only about his role on the pitch, but also off it. That convinced us to continue.
Afterwards, that was the transfer that went most smoothly. It was arranged within a few days. Nice to see that he immediately lives up to his reputation.
Hunt reveals failed £8.5 Sunderland bid
During Roy Keane’s tenure, the club spent heavily backing their Irish manager, with Drumaville member Charlie Chawke claiming:
What Roy wants, Roy gets.
But former Irish midfielder Stephen Hunt has told Off The Ball how that was not always the case.
Hunt claimed that Keane was attempting to sign him during the 2007-08 season when he was playing for Reading, at a time that the two clubs were due to play each other - a game in which Hunt scored a last minute winner.
Keane blanked a ‘disgraceful’ looking Hunt post-match but followed that up with numerous bids for the player’s services, with Reading eventually rejecting a bid of £8.5m for Hunt:
When I was playing for Reading, my agent told me that Roy wanted to sign me for Sunderland.
There were about 10 days to go in the window but I had a loyalty to Steve Coppell at the time that meant I would never put in a transfer request to go.
At the time we were two points ahead of them, and we had to play them in the window with four days to go.
I ended up scoring a late winner against them, and that didn’t go down well.
I had a farmers cap on and looked a disgrace doing an interview for Match of the Day and I’d come out of that into the corridor and Roy was coming towards me - it was only the two of us.
He literally walked past and completely blanked me.
All he had to do was nod or give me a wink or something, but nothing.
Next day, bang, bid, day after that, bid again.
To be fair to Roy, I’ve had loads of managers ring me and tell me they’re going to bid for me before not doing it.
Am I allowed say he phoned me? He made contact, whatever you want to say legally, and bid for me, but Reading turned down £8.5 million for me.
I was always grateful to Roy for that, and the fact that I could grab Reading by the balls and got my new contract after that.