Sunderland much busier than rivals Newcastle - Northern Exposure

15 July 2011 02:53

It's not big and it's not clever to compare the summer transfer spending of Sunderland and Newcastle.

Observers covering the fortunes of both clubs are often accused of bias for one of them, so dissecting the policy of the two clubs is a risky task.

But put it this way. Sunderland supporters are rather pleased with the business their manager, chairman and owner have done so far. Newcastle fans are not.

Both have wealthy owners but they also have managers with self-generated funds from the sale of two Academy players (who therefore cost next to nothing).

The new boys: Wes Brown (left) and John O'Shea (right) with Sunderland boss Steve Bruce

Sunderland sold Jordan Henderson for ?16million to Liverpool which, with the ?21million brought in from the sale of Darren Bent, almost equals the Andy Carroll money Kenny Dalglish also invested in his old club.

I remember speaking to Niall Quinn back in December after he had watched Sunderland and England's World Cup bid disappear in the Fifa ether.

Back then, as we drowned sorrows and chatted in the Stadium of Light sport bar, attention shifted to Sunderland AFC matters. And talk of Henderson leaving was just talk.

Quinn had just handed the midfielder a well-deserved and lucrative new contract. He also knew, deep down, the player and his family were happy at Sunderland. It would take one helluva offer to take him away. Deep down, Quinn knew one would come eventually, and Dalglish's May bid certainly came sooner than expected.

Looking back on the subsequent article now, it is worth recalling Quinn's frank observations. He said: 'When Jordan was being linked with a few clubs, his father rang me and told me "this is nothing to do with us, Jordan just wants to play for Sunderland" and I had to tell him, of all the players, Jordan really is the last one I am worried about. I know Jordan just wants to play for Sunderland.

'He's lovely young lad, always smiling, always wants to stay out longer, to practise free-kicks and shooting and he has run himself into the ground in recent weeks. He hasn't pulled a little groin injury - which he might do when he is 27 and wised up.

'I have nothing but praise for him, he is a fantastic advert for the academy and for young footballers. I don't want to put him on a pedestal, it is important he goes out and enjoys himself but he is so driven in a way that is so respectful of everything that goes on around him. He is a real breath of fresh air.

'The Bosman ruling changed everything and when you have a player who is valuable and running his contract down it is a nightmare for football clubs. At least Jordan has another four years so we are comfortable.

'Other factors come into the play like agents, tapping up etc but the one great thing about Jordan is that he is an exceptional human being who has been reared impeccably and I can't really envisage a situation where that will suddenly change.

'But circumstances some times dictate you have to do things another way and I have to be totally open and honest with people.

'Ifa ridiculous offer does come in for Jordan, or any of our players, I have to weigh up losing the player, to the money we will get, and how wecan spend it. It is a tough one.

Onn his way: Jordan Henderson has left Sunderland for Liverpool

'I am always mindful of the fact Bob Murray held on to Kevin (Phillips), we were relegated and sold him 15 months later for ?1.5m. That ?16m would have meant the club stayed in the Premier League.

'But it's a tough call and you have to be strong, I am not saying I want Jordan Henderson to go but I am giving an example of the dilemmas you can face.

'That is why we must be open. The game has changed, it is not like the old days when you could say "this player is not going anywhere". There are a lot of factors at play and I am not going to try fool anybody and come out with all this talk that Jordan will stay here forever. It is impossible to say that.'

For me, especially now, the key statement is 'the money we will get and how we spend it'. With Short's absolute backing - and he has shown total faith in Bruce and Quinn - they have spent it and then some.

Nine players added, around ?30million spent, not to mention the additional funds that come with free transfers and multi-million ones; presumably the ?8.1m spent on Connor Wickham does not include the cost of the private jet which took one of the Championship's biggest prospects and his father to meet Steve Bruce in Portugal.

Speaking after the opening pre-season match at York, Bruce indicated he has not finished wheeling and dealing in this transfer window yet.

'You never say never,' he said. 'As a manager you are always scouting around and I am pleased with what we have done in the market so far. We have been very busy and it is my job to settle them in.

'I will keep trying to keep plugging away and we will see what develops. It is my job to keep asking the owner for more and, believe me, I will do it.'

Quizzed this week on Newcastle's spending policy, and the fact that only ?5million of the Carroll cash has been paid for a player to another club, namely Yohan Cabaye and Lille, Alan Pardew was unhappy drawing comparisons with his neighbours.

He also gave an early contender for quote of the season. 'We've been involved in most of Sunderland's business that they've done but we've not got involved in it so we've got to do what we think is right for Newcastle,' he said.

The Newcastle manager says he is comfortable with the way Mike Ashley has decided to spend his money, while still hoping for a striker with more goals in him than the present choices, and one who may be big enough to take the Number Nine shirt.

He knows that won't be cheap, so his business is far from done. He may also have additional funds from Jose Enrique's seemingly inevitable departure.

Over the past month, the internet has been used to vent plenty of Geordie spleen and they ain't happy. Many have accused the written press who cover the club of failing to ask why the money has not been spent.

In truth Thursday afternoon was the first occasion we've had the chance to ask Pardew and we put the questions every which way we could to such an extent that inevitably we were eventually asked to move on to a different subject.

Pardew may have been feeling a little under the weather with a cold, but was more than happy to give his answers. He knew this day was coming. And this is what he said.

'That money has been put back into the club, full stop. I think it (the Andy Carroll sale) has been a big part of what we've done because the wage bill has gone up quite a bit.

'I also think we need to make sure that, over the next three or four years, we grow.

In the money: Newcastle made a fortune from the sale of Andy Carroll to Liverpool

'Our finances have been structured in a way that the team grows each year. So that's where some of the logic of what we have done is to do that.

'We never really got the benefit out of Ben Arfa last year. We've got him, Ba, Shola, Lovenkrands - we have a little bit of an overload as well at the moment. I think it would be helpful if we did actually move one or two players on then we could be in a situation where we bring in another player as well as a striker.

'Going into the season as we stand now, I think we're a little bit stronger than we were in the second half of last year. Hopefully, if we get another striker in, we'll also be stronger than we were in the first half of the season.

'That's where we are. I think the additions we have added will add some intelligence to our play. Particularly Cabaye, who's a really intelligent player. I think you'll see a slightly different Newcastle to last year.

'I've spoken about the money that we've got in and that has been spent, but you'd be surprised with the deals that we've done, they actually amount to a fair bit.

'We've got enough to bring a striker in of the right ilk for this club, and that's what we need to focus on. When we secure that player, then we'll look again.

He's been quiet so far: Newcastle boss Alan Pardew

'We're the same as any other club - we're not going to give out the financial details of what we do. I think that would be unfair. I think I've been quite honest in terms of the money - it's going to be put back into the club.

'Whichever way you look at it, we're not Liverpool, we don't have that sponsorship and corporate money they can generate, so at the moment, we are competing on a lower level to them. And that's without the four or five clubs that are above them.

'We're in that situation, and it's important we try to be the best in that little group. That's what we're going to try to do.

'I won't go into specifics. I do not think it is fair. Other clubs don't do it so we're not going to do it. Some of the costs of a transfer like Ba, there are obviously hidden costs to a certain degree.

'These free players don't come cheap. They are expensive players. They are what I would consider first team players. So if you put those three , plus Ben Arfa and Dan Gosling coming back, from what we had last year, we have improved considerably. I am saying we want to improve again before the season kicks off.'

So there you have it. And I repeat. Sunderland supporters are rather pleased with the business their manager, chairman and owner have done so far. Newcastle fans are not.

But there are 48 days to go.

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Source: Daily_Mail

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