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Roker Ramble: A week where Sunderland take the national stage - take note Sky Sports News!

Move aside politics, seven days is an even longer time in football. Wee Phillie undertakes a spot of trespass, ASM takes leave of his senses, and some welcome news for the women’s game...

@AidanMackem on Twitter

Transfer window slams shut

And so the madness of the latest transfer window slams shut. The hype and hyperbole of the media has finally reached a crescendo, and when it all boils down to it we’re left with Burnley replacing Chris Wood with someone twice as good for half the price, and Dele Alli heading to Everton for £0 rising to a cool £40m.

However, it was at the Academy of Light where things unfolded long into the night. Taking centre stage was of course the beautiful man that is Jermain Defoe, and nonother than Wee Phillie.

Now if you don’t know Wee Phillie, you may have seen him outside the Stadium of Light after matches with his camera, recording interviews for SAFC Fan TV. However in years gone by he was also well known as the man who would appear on the back of A Love Supreme advertising his comedy shows at Idols (sponsored by Carlsberg) and some pre-match “cheap beer and tasty topless tottie.”

Which of course has aged really badly in the times we now live. Videos still exist of his routine on the internet, and some would make Roy Chubby Brown blush.

But, each unto their own, and Phillie has carved himself somewhat of a niche - a side business, if you will - with his camera.

That camera was wielded in anger, and to huge success outside the AOL after the clock struck midnight on deadline day. As a vehicle pulled away from the car park, it stopped next to Phillie. Defoe, thinking perhaps it was Keith Downie reporting for Sky, wound the window down - but it turns out that man doesn’t have the Academy of Light in his satnav. Don’t worry, he won’t be reading this.

We all know what happened next. “It’s Jermain Defoe!” squealed Phillie, and from that moment on, we all knew the prince was coming home.

Not that it went down well with Downie. Of course, he’s a man who usually appears on your Twitter conversations as “show additional replies, including those that may contain offensive content.” And the offensive content this week was a reply to one Sunderland fan who questioned his ability to, you know, actually report on our club, by serving up a huge vat of salt in his reply. Instead of accepting magnanimously he’d been out investigative-journalisted by a man who used to dress like he was a cross between Borat and Bret the Hitman Hart, he asked when the fan was going to accept that being in League One isn’t newsworthy on a national level.

Which I find fascinating, because I went back to see how much of his Twitter feed was dominated by Newcastle when they were last in the Championship, compared to Premier League Sunderland. Don’t think too hard, but Downie clearly thought second-tier Newcastle was very much in the national interest.

To be fair, Keith had initially applauded Phillie’s efforts - but it’s clear there was something simmering. Maybe it’s being made to stay up until midnight to catch a glimpse of Dan Burn entering a dilapidated building.

So in one fell swoop, he airbrushed out probably 25% of the fan base of the region he’s employed to report on.

I don’t want to stick the boot in massively there, but come on man Keith. Save arguing with the punters to others, eh?


Balloon D’Or

We all know Allan Saint-Maximin right? Producer of less end-product than a Sue Gray report (for now) and hilarious thrower-of-shade upon Sunderland AFC on Twitter, spawning regular pieces in the Chronicle guffawing “Allan Saint Maximin’s brilliant Sunderland taunt Newcastle fans will LOVE”.

Utter comedy gold. Take Nana’s ashes off the mantlepiece, that’s where the Perrier award is going.

In fact, ASM is, without doubt, a few sandwiches short of a picnic. In fact he’s not just a few sandwiches short, he’s missing the pork pies, crisps, sausage rolls, quiche, scotch eggs, nuts, olives, potato salad, cake, beers, prosecco, juice, paper towels, corkscrew, cutlery, plastic cups, picnic blanket and basket. In fact his picnics would be pretty non-existent.

Talking of non-existent, ASM has this week been talking about his ambitions in life. No, it’s not to take his show to the Edinburgh festival, but to win something in football.

Newcastle United Training Session
World’s. Greatest. Player.
Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

You’re at the wrong club there, mate.

Specifically, he’s got designs on the coveted Ballon D’or.

I’m getting serious Nicklas Bendtner vibes here, such is the man’s inflated ability of himself. Let us not forget that this was the player - despite scoring the crucial goal in the game - that was being hounded by fans of the Mags for his general all round performance and many were in fact screaming for him to be dropped.

Ballon? No. Balloon? Yes.

Honestly, the spirit of Gerd Muller has got more chance of picking up the gong in years to come that he has.

Don’t worry, I’m not worried about appearing on the Twitter account “Things that proceed unfortunate events” - I hear that Newcastle United have that place booked out from May 2022 until ooooh I don’t know, the end of eternity.


Maternity and injury deal announced for the women’s game

Often accused of being behind the curve on many issues related to gender and race, it’s nice to report on some good news coming out of FA & PFA towers this week.

They’ve announced the details of a new set of rights for footballers who are pregnant, ill or injured. Under the new terms they will receive 14 weeks full pay from clubs, and the statutory rate after that. There’s also the removal of the qualifying period, where someone had to play for a club for 26 weeks before becoming eligible for the statutory minimum.

If players are injured they’ll get 18 months full pay, and half thereafter, which mirrors the current rules in place in the men’s game.

The deal - which covers the top two tiers and first revealed last week - was welcomed, however one issue does remain outstanding; a club can often choose not to exercise an option on a player’s contract until it has expired, therefore leaving them in limbo. This however is expected to be addressed in the near future.

So work to still be done, but some very positive steps taken so far.

Manchester United Women v Manchester City Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images

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