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deadline day…

It's transfer deadline day again and Sunderland are still in the market for more players. To make things easier, below is a timeline of all developments throughout the day. Spiffy!

23:00 - The transfer window is CLOSED! - Today we brought in Sebastian Coates and Ricky Alvarez on loan from Liverpool and Inter Milan respectively. Thye join Patrick van Aanholt, Will Buckley, Jordi Gomez, Costel Pantilimon, Billy Jones, Jack Rodwell and Santiago Vergini at the club.

22:20 - Hold on! Gus Poyet and Charlie Oatway have just turned up here! They left at around 7! Is there something else to happen before 11pm?

21:30 - I was obviously just being romantic. No borini. Nothing to see here.

21:00 - No sign of Borini yet at Cleadon. Half expected him to turn up in a Navy uniform a la Richard Gere.

20:30 - Hold the page! Fabio Borini's move to QPR has hit the rocks after Borini's wage demands proved too rich! Does he still want to join Sunderland!?!

19:40 - Think that might well be it for us this window. Can't see any more coming in now, none seem to be in the pipeline either.

19:15 - And now Ricky Alvarez has officially signed for Sunderland on loan from Inter.

18:50 - And now Roberge has left as well! He has went on loan to French side Reims as expected.

18:30 - Sebastian Coates has joined us on loan from Liverpool! Much needed strength in defence. Meanwhile Danny Welbeck is heading to Arsenal!

17:30 - It's 5:30 now and we have 5:30 left in the window. Fiddledy Dee! Coates apparently came out of the Academy a little while ago, suggesting he has completed all formalities, or of course the dreaded opposite.

16:30 - Getting a bit sick of Sky Sports News now, they all just keep going on about Falcao. Might just stick Netflix on.

16:00 - QPR have made a bid in excess of £10m for Fabio Borini, Liverpool have accepted said bid. This is nerve shredding. Do the right thing Fabio.

15:00 - Still waiting on the big fella anda picture of him holding a scarf, probably won't be until later tonight though. We could have had a double signing pic if Alvarez hadn't already signed!

14:30 - Sebastian Coates is reportedly at the Academy for a medical and to discuss personal terms ahead of a one year loan move.

13:30 - Modibo Diakite has had his contract cancelled by mutual consent. Oh well, another Di Canio/De Fanti success.

13:00 - I hope there's nothing in these Borini to QPR rumours. Could handle him going to Inter or somewhere else abroad but going to QPR would ruin my memories of him.

12:15 - Ricky Alvarez is off to play in a charity match in Rome but HAS signed for Sunderland, the club are just waiting on final paperwork and we are just waiting on the obligatory scarf pictures!

12:00 - With Radamel Falcao apparently moving to Man Utd, Danny Welbeck will likely be on the move, however it is reported that Welbeck is now closer to a move to Spurs! QPR have also been linked with Fabio Borini now. They're pretty much just linked with everyone we are, and often do actually sign them.

11:00 - It appears that we were more warm to a loan deal for Micah Richards but Gus instead fancies Sebastian Coates, who it is believed is on his way to Sunderland for a medical. As for Ricky Alvarez, that deal is apparently all but done and shouldn't be a problem at all, it will happen today. Toby Aldeweireld is on his way to Southampton on loan.

10:20 - A rumour of Sunderland making an offer for Man City's Micah Richards emerges, but just a few minutes later he is photographed in Fiorentina ahead of a potential move! It looks like this one is finished for us!

10:00 - Still nothing, although Carlisle have just sacked Graham Kavanagh!

9:00 - It seems as though the likeliest arrivals will be Sebastian Coates, Ricky Alvarez and possibly even Fabio Borini. Wouldn't mind another defender as well like.

In other news...

Gus Poyet is in a very positive mood after our defeat to QPR, as despite the result he was happy with our determined performance. He said: "We need to take this. We lost, but that was my team and that's the thing which makes me calm and happy. We threw everything and took risks. We went for it and put our goalkeeper in the box three or four times. On another day, you score and everybody will be happy because it was coming. But the goal changed the game. We gave QPR the chance to play the second half in a different way, which helped them to defend in the way they defended."

"I don't know whether it was over-confidence, or whether we were so happy and controlled in the game, or if it looked a bit too easy. But it's a wake-up call. There's no easy games in the Premier League, it's difficult. If you lose that control, momentum and the other team reacts, then you've got problems. The last 15 minutes of the first half made us lose the game. It was a game of two different things. One of us controlling and putting the other team on the back foot. And another one of trying to get another goal. It was an interesting game, not too many chances, but that's football. Then I took a few risks at the end because they were just defending. On another day, you come back in the game, although Harry (Redknapp, QPR boss) might not agree. It's football. The goals are really expensive and that was the one which made the difference."

Poyet has praised Cattermole again and has explained that Lee could 'be his Dennis Wise' which is apparently a good thing! He said "If I was worried about his character, I would have changed him. But I didn't. I had a chat with him at half-time and everything was all right. Everyone is different. If we were all nice, it would be boring because there'd be nothing to write about! If he gets sent off, then he's got a problem because there's players waiting to play. When you lose the position because of a mistake, you cannot go and see the manager over why you're not playing. But he knows that. Sometimes when we are not doing well, he's the one who shows a bit more frustration than the rest. But that's his character. I like his character. I don't like all very nice people. It's not my team. I like that bit of nastiest as well. He's my Dennis Wise!"

Adam Johnson also reckons our performance wasn't bad against QPR, and thinks that we gifted QPR the game: "I think we played all right. They wouldn't have scored in a million years unless we made a mistake like we did. Apart from one minute at the end of the first half we gave controlled the game. But that's football, it happens. You've just got to learn from it. We're confident in the team," said the 27-year-old. "But Saturday was a prime example of why you can't give the opposition chances. We did that and we got punished. We just couldn't quite seem to break them down but on another day we could have scored two or three. Things are definitely moving in the right direction. The way we controlled Saturday's game, the way we passed the ball, they couldn't really get it off us."

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next goal wins review…
by adam delicate

So here's a slight break from the transfer window and a review of a film that you must see. Next Goal Wins comes out on DVD today (1/09) and is about the current American Samoa national team who have been in existence for 17 years and have lost every single game. Famously one of these defeats was the 31-0 loss to Australia – a record defeat in international football.

This film is not a spoof or a comedy about how rubbish the national team of this 60,000 populated country is. It's about why they keep turning up, the personal battles each of them faces, and the patriotic bond they have with each other. The current crop of players features the goalkeeper who was between the sticks that night when Archie Thompson and co put 31 past him, a defender who is the first recognised transgender international and also includes a US marine.

So why document this? Well the two English directors, Mike Brett and Steve Jamison, answer this when they spoke to ALS.

Steve: "It was a combination of a number of factors, first and foremost, Mike and I met playing football. The sport brought us together and it has given me a friendship that is going to last me my entire laugh. We knew that football has the power to be an amazing force of good in the world, but a few years ago in 2011, football was wrapped up a little bit in too many negative connotations, too man negative stories coming from the press.

"We wanted to go and rediscover our love for the game because we knew that at one point this was an incredible sport. We started thinking about where the best football story might exist, which would allow us to recapture our love for the sport. It was in a conversation with a fellow producer that American Samoa was brought up, who were the team we all remember who got thrashed 31-0 by Australia all those years ago. When we looked, they were still at the bottom of FIFA's world rankings. We thought well if you're trying to find the purest form of the game, it surely has to exist within this team who have suffered the worst defeat ever in international football, have never won a game, in fact, have lost every single game. Yet they still go out there, they must only play for the love of the game because why else would you go out for the second half when you're 16 nil down? These players are travelling thousands of miles probably knowing that all they're going to do is pick the ball out of the back of the net.

"For us that was inspirational, just to learn about the team and there we took a bit of a gamble and travelled out there just to speak to them, learn more about them and hopefully communicate their story to the masses. We knew that if we could really get to the bottom of what was motivating these players then hopefully that would be an inspirational story to football fans, movie fans or anyone watching worldwide."

That is the one thing I'd say about this film, do not feel like you have to watch it alone as it is predominantly about football. Even if your other half or friend hates football it would take the most cold-hearted of individuals to not get attached to the people in the film, even they will find themselves wanting the side to score.

Mike, the other director, continues: "It took us a while to convince them that we weren't going over there to take the piss out of them. Which I think several crews and journalists had tried to do in the past. We were there to celebrate their inspirational refusal to give up. By the time they agreed to us

doing it, it was only about four or five weeks till they were about to play 5 consecutive matches in a week at the South Pacific games so we had to get ourselves together pretty rapidly.

"A lot of people are going to think this is a film about the worst team in the world learning how to win. We see it quite differently before we even went out over there, for us it's more about a team learning how to lose with dignity, pride and with a purity of spirit and that's exactly what the team do in the film. Whatever sport you play is irrelevant, learning to lose in life with pride and dignity with the people around you is an incredibly important message."

This message is especially relevant to our beloved Sunderland in my opinion. If we were there exclusively to see us win games, then we'd be left feeling very let down every week. Well, even more so anyway. There must be something that brings us back to the SOL and all the other stadia every week. I think we showed a similar losing with pride and dignity in this year's Cup final, where even after City scored their late third, there was pride and a determination to accept defeat in a dignified manner in recognition of how far we'd come.

Steve concludes: "In the World Cup, you're glad of that break from the Premier League, there seems to be something pure about playing for your country at the tournament. But then when you see the flare ups in the Ghana camp or millions of pounds in cash being escorted by armed guards to pay off the Cameroonians just to turn out and play for your country, you feel that even that part of the game isn't as pure as you'd hoped it would be. This film is as pure as football gets, there is no purer form of football in the world. If you truly love the game, I think it's really refreshing to know that these people are out there and they're upholding the values of the game a lot more than what all of us are when we go out and watch our teams in the Premier League or any other leagues."

I would honestly give this film a four out of five, it's extremely touching with excellent footage that is well edited. The only reason I did not give it a five star is basically because I'm tight and nothing is ever perfect but I could see why some would give it that elevated review. So whether you're disillusioned with your team's transfer dealings or not, watch this film and just enjoy the heart-warming life journey those involved go on throughout the footage.

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head's gone…
als blog by graeme atkinson

Let me start by saying I absolutely feel, in the baron toxic wasteland I like to call my heart, that Gus Poyet is the right man to steer Sunderland forward. However if we're pointing fingers Gus has to take a large scoop of the blame for Saturday's result against Queens Park Rangers. In the cold light of day, I just can't understand why Poyet starts Fletcher. That one simple player selection seems to set our whole attacking threat off kilter.

Wickham is pushed to the left of the front three and going on his form from the close of last season as well as the last few games, he has to start through the middle. He is simply the best we have in that position, whether you feel that is symptomatic of a larger problem is another matter, but the fact is he is. Playing up top gets the best out of his game and in doing so maximises the team's goal threat. It seems as clear as that.

Fletcher had a torrid time last season and you'd like to put this largely down to injury. Although it has to be said it looked at times like his commitment and desire just wasn't there, whether injury was hampering him or not. In fairness to Poyet and indeed Fletcher, the Scottish striker had a decent pre-season. He began to show, in little glimpses, why Martin O'Neill paid £14mil for him. But frankly he has shown nothing in the last few games to warrant that starting position. Sunderland just aren't a team that can carry passengers and Steven Fletcher seems not only a passenger but he's bringing along his luggage for the ride at the moment.

Poyet is a shrewd operator. Gus must be able to see that the system he deploys is not suited to Fletcher. He lacks the pace and nous to consistently work well in that 4-3-3 formation. Therefore why play him? Are we lacking any viable alternatives perhaps?

Let's look at what we could do with Wickham through the middle and Fletcher benched. A three of Buckley, Connor and Johnson? A three of Giaccherini, Connor and Johnson? Johnson, Connor and Laarson? While you could perhaps pick fault in all of those if you tried, all would offer more that Fletcher on current form.

If I maybe so blunt Fletcher is a relic of a bygone age. Poyet is trying to make us a modern, passing team so the fact that Gus dips back into the metaphorical past when making his team selection and tries to drag Fletcher kicking and screaming into the present just seems to be at odds with his ethos and arguably, it might be said, unfair on the player.

It's early days but QPR were the sort of team we'd be beaten by last season, indeed we did, and unfortunately that pattern has repeated again this season. I desperately, like us all, want to feel like SAFC have improved and results like that against QPR hurt as it feels like no progress has been made at all.

However despite this, my faith in Gus has not wavered. Of course you can be good at your job and make mistakes, it's how we all learn. I just feel strongly that playing Fletcher is a mistake you can only make so many times before the whole team begins to suffer.

I'll finish by saying I'm still keeping on, keeping the faith. Hopefully the players Congerton and Poyet bring in before the transfer window swings shut will be more adept to the Poyet brand of football. Perhaps Fletcher maybe moved on to make way for some of them. Who knows but 11pm, 1st Sept can't come quick enough.

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gus bemoans timing of goal…
ricky alvarez close

Gus Poyet reckons we can learn from our defeat at QPR, and improve where we were poor. He said: "I don't think there was too much difference between the two teams. There was a difference in the way we played the game – and the other difference was the goal. We started well and were in control, they couldn't get the ball off us. But then QPR had probably the last 15 minutes [of the first half] after that shot from Fer, which got their supporters going. But we put ourselves under pressure in the last 10 or 15 minutes [of the first half] giving the ball away and losing it cheaply, which is something normally we don't do. That gave the momentum to QPR. The goal changed the game, because it gave them the chance to play the second half in a different way.

"The timing of the goal did not help us at all. I don't know if it was over-confidence because we felt we were so happy and in control of the game that we felt it was a little bit too easy. This is a good wake-up call, because the Premier League is not easy. It's difficult, and if you lose that control and momentum and the home team reacts, then you have got problems. The last 15 minutes of the first half is what made us lose the match."

Poyet admitted that as goals do win games, our lack of goals and goalscorers ultimately cost us: "We had to take a few risks at the end because QPR were just defending. On another day, we would have come back into the game and I think that everybody would agree that we deserved it. But that's football. Goals are what make the difference, and that's why they [goalscorers] are so expensive."

Hopefully though, we'll have a new player in very soon indeed, with Inter Milan's Ricky Alvarez reportedly extremely close to a Sunderland move. I wouldn't waste your Sunday sitting in front of Sky Sports News like.

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post qpr craic…

Sunderland lost 1-0 away to QPR in a game where, again, we just seemed to lack that cutting edge or piece of quality to grab a goal or two. A late first half Charlie Austin goal was enough to see us off and condemn us to our first defeat of the season. Oh well, get the loss out of the way, push on from here!

Gus Poyet believes it was the timing of their goal which killed the game for us: "If we analyse the whole game we can say that we were very good for the first 25 to 30 minutes. It would have been totally different to go into half time at 0-0 - we made three or four mistakes before the goal and we gave QPR the momentum. We didn't cope well in the last few minutes of the first half and we made mistakes that we shouldn't have made and ultimately conceded. We adjusted and then in the first 15 minutes of the second half there was nothing in the game but we just couldn't break them down. The timing of the goal did kill us and I was not expecting to concede from a set piece as we have been very good at defending them so far; it is something we need to look at and ensure it doesn't happen again."

Adam Johnson however, reckons mistakes cost us: "I think we totally dictated the game from start to finish except for one minute at the end of the first half in which we made a mistake, and if you make a mistake in this league you get punished. Robert Green made a couple of good saves but I don't think we tested him enough to be honest, we created quite a few chances but we couldn't seem to get that little bit of luck or that extra quality for a final ball to put it in the net. A set-piece wins the game but I don't think they would have scored in 200 minutes against us unless we gave them a chance like we did, we deserved more but that happens in football and we need to move on. It is fine margins and on another day we could have had two or three for an easy result - we have to cut the silly mistakes out because other than that we defended well."

Meanwhile Poyet believes that we can take responsibility for Jack Colback's England call up and has a plan to get Lee Cattermole in the England squad! Gus said: "Jack knows how much we helped him develop. He's in the national team now – and that's 98% down to us and 2% down to Newcastle. He's been there for two and a half minutes and now he's an England player. Maybe that's because he's playing with all French players at Newcastle, so he stands out. We'll have to bring in lots of French players here to help Lee Cattermole play for England." I love Gus.

He continued his praise for Lee Cattermole and admitted that he wouldn't swap him for any other defensive midfielder: "The way we play and the way Lee covers and understands the game now, I wouldn't buy another player to replace him. Liam has been with us for three years. That was an easy one because he knows the role perfectly. He can play that with his eyes closed. Now he can play better or worse, but he knows the role. But Lee has learned that role to the point where it's so impressive with his positioning and the way he defends."

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On the Buses…
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