Dear Roker Report,
The fact that we didn’t manage to sign a striker permanently in the window is disappointing. But I do think those claiming we needed two permanent signings are being somewhat naive.
The striker is the most expensive position on the pitch, anyone with proven Championship pedigree would have cost a pretty penny, and that would only be pushed up by the knowledge that we were very short in the position. If it was going to cause the club issues financially, I’d rather we did hold back for next season - I mean we ended up paying £3million for Will Grigg in League One. I saw Clarke-Harris’ name bandied around for a reported £5 million, and his record in the Championship wasn’t exactly spectacular, which I think is proof of how difficult a decent transfer would be without overspending.
Moving forward, maybe Gooch can come in handy for us, he did play through the middle that season in League One and was fairly effective, and he showed in the fixture against Sheffield Utd that he has composure in front of goal. With Hume seemingly cementing himself at right back it could be a good opportunity to try and get Gooch some more game time and facilitate a move down the line for him.
On a brighter note, I think Bailey Wright’s loan move to Rotherham is great - hopefully he’ll get a good amount of Championship game time and allow us to sell him on for a decent fee if that’s what he’d like, or even give him the chance to move into a more prominent role in our back line next season if his loan spell is successful.
Ed’s Note [Martin]: I don’t think saying we need two permanent strikers is naive at all Euan – saying we should sign them on transfer deadline day would be though. We haven’t signed a permanent first-team striker for two years, we only own one. Yes, it’s an in-demand position, but as the cliche goes, you don’t win football matches if you don’t score goals. It’s a position we absolutley need to sign players in – we can’t go on long-term having only one striker on our books full time. As for Bailey Wright, he’s an excellent pro and has another 18 months left on his contract – if he helps Rotherham stay up I’m sure they’ll want to sign him permanently.
Dear Roker Report,
On behalf of the 40000 Sunderland supporters that turn up every other week and the 6000 supporters that travelled to Fulham, I am bitterly disappointed at the club’s failure to bring in two strikers in the January transfer window. Since Stewart and Simms were injured back in September of last year the recruitment team’s number one priority, their reason to exist, should have been planning to sign two strikers in the January transfer window. One in case of another injury to either striker and two, in case Ross Stewart was sold. The recruitment team have had at least four months to do their research and line up say four prioritised potential strikers, presuming if your first target doesn’t happen you move on to the next one.
Joe Gelhardt joins on loan on the 27th January. Ross Stewart is injured on the 28th January and is out for the season. If Joe Gelhardt was target ‘A’ then you go and sign target ‘B’. If target ‘A’ didn’t come off and Joe Gelhardt was target ‘B’ you go and sign target ‘C’. If target ‘C’ doesn’t come off, you go and sign target ‘D’. If target ‘D’ doesn’t come off, something is wrong with your process. I am struggling to understand how, in three days, the recruitment team failed to sign a new striker from potential targets already on their radar.
Everton, a team that are desperately lacking in strikers, struggling to score goals and in a relegation battle, were just about to appoint a new manager. Under no circumstances was their new manager going to sanction Ellis Simms moving back to Sunderland. That ship had sailed, move on. Please tell me the recruitment team didn’t waste any of their time trying to bring Simms back.
We have now played all 23 teams in the championship and apart from the 2nd half against Burnley, we really haven’t been outplayed by anything in this division. We have done well to be where we are. We played 12 games without any strikers, yet we are only 2 points off the playoffs. With Amad and Roberts playing one-touch Premier League quality football alongside a quality goal scorer, we could easily make the playoffs.
Burnley are 5 points clear at the top of the championship, won all their last 8 league games, have no injuries, yet they managed to sign two inexpensive strikers in the January transfer window, that shows a sign of their intent.
If we lose in the playoffs or we miss out on the playoffs, nobody is going to criticise. If Gelhardt stays fit and bangs in the goals, then we have got out of jail, but if he doesn’t, the failure to sign a striker will have wasted a great opportunity. As usual, the magnificent supporters of Sunderland are doing their bit, following the club in their thousands both home and away, they deserved two strikers, very disappointing. In this era of engaging with the fans maybe someone at the club can tell us why.
Ed’s Note [Martin]: Must have taken your a while to canvas all of our supporters, Steve. Kristjaan Speakman did a podcast with the club yesterday, and covered it really well. They were in discussions over four strikers on deadline day, and for a variety of reasons none came off. As mentioned above, we need strikers – strikers we own. But it’s not Football Manager, it’s not simple to sign players, and I’d much rather a recruitment team that followed their long-term strategy around player profiles, characters etc than have a repeat of Donald and Coton getting their trousers pulled down by Wigan out of desperation.