Joseph Tulip says...
I just feel wholeheartedly disappointed.
When we were initially linked with Defoe following his departure from Rangers, I thought his quality and experience would do our young squad the world of good, but I never really thought it would happen.
When it did, and the highest-profile player since Niall Quinn to have what appeared to be a deep emotional bond, not only to the club, but to the wider community, made a triumphant return, I was pleasantly surprised, even thrilled.
But the bizarre circumstances, with Lee Johnson departing days before his arrival, made me wonder what really was going on behind the scenes and what this really was all about.
It didn’t bother me that Defoe wasn’t match fit. He was 39 years old and was, in my eyes, playing his part as a valued squad member, with Ross Stewart praising Defoe’s influence on the squad just this week.
I also didn’t doubt the club’s reasons for signing him. Quality and experience on the pitch, PR, commercialism, merchandise - it’s all surely for the good of the club.
But if this was all at the expense of Lee Johnson, a manager who didn’t seem keen on Defoe, and the half dozen games after Johnson’s departure which derailed our automatic promotion bid, then our pursuit of the former England man was wrong.
The statement from Defoe and the club is full of niceties, but we don’t get any reasoning.
If it’s an injury, fair enough, we’d understand. After all, there are only seven games left and if you’re out for two months, your season is over. Equally, we’d fully understand any underlying personal matters.
If he’s feeling his age or is not feeling up to the task, that is not an excuse. Why not stick with us, honour your agreement and put a shift in for a few more weeks before returning?
Defoe has ended any chance of a fairytale ending at Sunderland. Hopefully, we’ll learn more about his reasons, but after loving him more than ever in January, I can’t help but feel his Sunderland legacy has been slightly tarnished.
Michael Dunne says...
Another embarrassing episode in what has been a season of self-destruction at the club - to go all out to sign Jermain Defoe only for him to retire seven weeks later is just typical.
Surely the club would have been aware of Defoe’s intentions? It appears to me that they were intent on getting the fans onside at a rough time by signing him.
I was never sold on the idea of bringing back Defoe.
People said it was a no-brainer. I never understood it.
Defoe was 39, had barely played a minute of football this season, and we were expecting him to come in and bang goals in. He looked completely off the pace from the very start.
And how does it leave us now? Ridiculously threadbare.
The truth is we have Ross Stewart who will no doubt be injured with Scotland or run into the ground with us, Nathan Broadhead who is made of spaghetti and Benji Kimpioka who has barely kicked a ball all season.
Unfortunately, it’s just another sad episode in the demise of this club. I can’t help but feel disillusioned by the way it’s being run.
The last dance. What a farce.
Maybe Lee Johnson was right.
Phil West says...
A cock-up, wrapped inside a brain-fade, enveloped inside a clanger, packaged up with a healthy dollop of PR, nostalgia & spin, and sold to a fan base who were desperate for a hero to come in at the end of the January transfer window.
That is the only way you can describe this completely sorry episode, and once again, Sunderland AFC have given rival fans another glorious reason to mock us.
Forget all the romantic talk about Defoe adding 10,000 to the matchday attendance, or that he would ‘bag goals for fun at this level’. The whole saga has been a complete fiasco, and it is somewhat merciful that it has finally ended.
Signing Defoe was a move that should never have been made.
Kristjaan Speakman was desperate to get the fans back onside after a turbulent January window, and clearly, he felt that this was the only way to do it, but it was a deeply flawed idea from the start.
With so little football under his belt this season, the chances of him returning to the club and making a significant impact were always minimal, and seven games later, he has decided to call time on what has undoubtedly been a stellar career. I find it staggering that we didn’t have other targets in mind, in terms of strikers, and that we ended up staking our season on a player who’s best years in red and white were long past.
I do not blame Defoe at all and there is no bad feeling towards him. Clearly, he has listened to his body and has opted to call it a day.
If Lee Johnson did have reservations about bringing Defoe back, it is an undeniable fact that he was 100% right to stand by his judgement, and I do wonder how he feels as this news has broken.
Ultimately, Defoe leaves us with mixed memories. A superb first spell on Wearside and an absolutely dismal second.
It is, quite simply, ‘classic Sunderland’, and hopefully we can all now move on and focus our energy on the season’s end goal. We’d also better pray that Ross Stewart doesn’t get injured, either. Without him, we are well and truly screwed.
Andrew Smithson says...
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to support a nice stable club where nothing ever really happens. Admittedly, losing a star name to an unexpected retirement a week after he was featured in marketing material for new season cards and barely two months after a much-heralded return is a new one even for us, but it would be great if we could somehow manage to go a decent while without some sort of situation cropping up.
There were question marks at the time about whether bringing Defoe in was the right thing to do, and now those questions will be asked again.
Obviously, I wish him all the best and hope he can enjoy his post-playing career, and without knowing the full facts I would never criticise his call, but from SAFC’s point of view it puts some of the decision making processes under the spotlight once more and leaves us woefully short in terms of out and out striker options.
I had hoped that in addition to contributing on the pitch, Defoe could do some good in a mentoring role behind the scenes. He will be a big miss in that respect and his legacy will remain I dare say, but his presence on the bench could be a distraction at times and the quicker we all move on now the better - with any luck they’ll be no more bombshells between now and the end of the season and for once we can all focus on the football itself.
Kelvin Beattie says...
Initially, I felt a mix of disappointment and frustration - disappointment that a player I admired in his first spell with us was not going to enjoy a successful swan song in his second spell.
I was not as enraptured as many were at his signing - I really felt we could have bolstered our forward options with a younger player with the potential to offer us something next season.
Having made the signing I felt we needed to get the best out of it - hopefully a goal or two on the pitch and his experience and a role model off it.
So, I am frustrated that this is not going to happen. Instead, we have what looks like a right faux-pas! I have some sympathy with those who have wondered why Defoe could not just shoulder arms and see out the season. I would say that a quick look at his track record would suggest he is an honourable hard-working professional who generally handles himself well, on and off the pitch. This decision and its timing would suggest there is something we are not aware of that has led to this outcome.
We need to wish JD all the best and move on.