It’s always interesting digging through the archives looking for information about things that happened on this day regarding Sunderland AFC. Of course, some of it’s pretty easy and obvious – famous matches, birthdays of former players, and big signings that went one way or the other over the years that followed.
And then you find little snippets of information that either passed you by at the time, or you’ve completely forgotten about.
Back in the summer of 2010, after Steve Bruce had guided us to a respectable Premier League finish and had put together a pretty good squad, optimism was high. We expected to kick on, build on the team we had and improve once more – and that was despite the surprise departure of captain Lorik Cana, who’d decided one year on Wearside was enough and headed for Galatasaray.
Still, we had one of the country’s brightest talents in Jordan Henderson, and a talisman in Darren Bent – our first real goalscoring hero since SKP.
Another departure had been Bent’s strike partner Kenwyne Jones. It was a shame Kenwyne went. He was unplayable on his day, but he and Brucie never really gelled and Jones headed to Stoke under a bit of a cloud.
Of course, a number of strikers were linked all summer as a potential replacement, but as it turns out, we were pretty close to making a serious play in the direction of John-Arne Riise’s mate, Craig Bellamy.
The Welsh gobshite was on the verge of leaving Manchester City, and Bruce wanted him at the Stadium of Light.
There’s a lot of clubs who would love Craig Bellamy. He’s a fantastic player, but whether it’s possible, I’m not quite sure.
I’ve been a big admirer of Craig’s for a long, long time. If he’s available, which it looks like he is, and if we could afford him, then I would love to bring Craig to the football club.
Bellamy had spent a few seasons up the road earlier in his career, but his dislike of Alan Shearer and general disdain he seems to have for the rebranded Human Rights FC may have made him one of the few ex-mags we’d have been happy to have.
It would have been a mouthwatering partnership, actually, Bent and Bellamy, and you get the feeling Bellamy would have added that bit of… leadership I guess, as we struggled during the second half of the campaign.
We did add a striker before the season began – Danny Welbeck arrived on loan from Manchester United, and Bruce said:
We’re very close to bringing in young Danny Welbeck from Manchester United. He’s a young man but he’ll fit into our squad fantastically well.
We’ve got him here this morning. It looks like the formalities are done as long as he comes through the medical and we hope to announce him later on today.
It would be unfair to say that he (Welbeck) is the replacement for Kenwyne. There’s still a couple of weeks to go in the market and hopefully the money is there to go and spend it.
Of course, Asamoah Gyan arrived after the season began, but with Bent deciding to push for a transfer deadline move to Turkey – before seeming to spend the next six months in a bit of a strop after it was turned down – Sunderland didn’t seem to be as happy a place as it had been a few months before.
Bellamy may have helped improve that or made it worse, who knows. He did leave Man City, playing a season on loan at Championship team Cardiff City.