When I saw that Sam Ricketts had signed for Bolton my initial reaction was; “Good. I’ll drive him there myself!” Harsh, but the Welshman has been a blessed liability in defence.
Then I got to thinking.
Why, if Bolton are going to be in there around us scraping for survival are we selling them a player whom they think will improve their squad? Hell, it’s the pragmatic reason that Ricky Sbragia refused Phil Brown’s overtures for Paul McShane last season. “I’m not playing him, but you can’t have in either!”. The Mackams survived with an advantage over us.
From Ricketts’ point of view I imagine that with only a year left on his Walton Street deal and the prospect of being relegated, the boy decided it would be more advantageous to seek an new club whilst still an international Premier League player rather than scrabbling around for a contract having been part of a relegated squad.
As soon as Frazier Campbell (rightly from his point of view) snubbed City where he has been a raging success, for Sunderland the writing was on the wall for Phil Brown’s attempts to lure top quality to the football Club, and we have been spurned by a succession of strikers, most of whom were overpriced an underwhelming anyway. The latest is 2 goals in 32 games Fulham forward Bobby Zamora who was rated at an eye watering £5 million.
At least, I thought we haven’t been in for the last port of desperate call; Mark Viduka. Then I turned the page in my newspaper….
There is a simple reason why we can’t sign anyone decent and it’s name is Phil Brown.
During the heady late Summer days of last September whilst we basked un the glory of third place Brown was seen as a bit of a lark, bringing his work a day artisans into the top flight and poking the likes of Arsene Wenger in the eye. “A breath of fresh air” and all that pony.
Then there came the Boxing Day debacle at Eastlands and the scales fell from the eyes in the footy world as Brown was outed as, actually a bit of a Pratt who was out of his depth tactically, and crucially from an HR perspective he seemed unable to be consistent with the players going from being one of the lads to boggle eyed ranting and raving. No one wants a boss like that.
Money is no object. City are loaded and have zero debt but all that will count for naught if we can’t get people to come and play for us. I am in no way calling for the Manager’s head, but he must show humility and prove to us that he had learnt from his mistakes.
When I saw Sven had gone to Notts. County as Director of Football I couldn’t help but wonder if Paul Duffen hadn’t missed a trick there. His contacts book alone would have been worth it.
I am not given, usually to undue pessimism but I fear that we will be relegated with 26 points having recorded five wins as the bitter truth is that without quality players in all areas you are stuffed in this League. But, just one big signing and a couple of wins could turn matters around within a couple of weeks and then who knows what could be possible.
We are at the watershed.