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bain adresses fans
lads to wear bradley lowrey foundation shirts

Martin Bain has been speaking to the local media about Sunderland’s blue print and explained why spending was so light this summer. “The income drop after relegation, from £100million to around £40million, has to be considered and so does the wage bill, which is still significant for this level even though we have taken steps to reduce it. We’ve brought in £30million for Jordan Pickford, but that is needed for the running of the club. Yes, that money comes in, but then you have to consider the money that went out on legacy transfer payments at the start of the summer. Added to that we lose some of it when you consider Ricky Alvarez. A player we don’t have, a mistake from the past. You may not see big transfer fees and I understand why supporters would question that. To put it simply, you take the shortfall from the Premier League to the Championship in terms of revenue, which is huge. Ellis funds that, which allows us, as an example, to sustain a competitive wage bill for this division. Moving forward he’s not saying ‘I won’t write the cheques’, he’s saying ‘I don’t want to continue to fund losses, I want to fund growth and improvement’. I think that’s where I come in, to turn the club around over a sustained period of time. Football and financial stability is my remit. Not within 12 months but hopefully not too long and then we can see Sunderland climb.”

He also suggests that Short is aware of his past mistakes but they are now only concerned with putting things right in the long term and changing the transfer policy at the club. “I know its repetition but I do genuinely believe the work we’ve done over the summer, everything we’ve done, not just transfers, if we had managed to get the results in recent weeks the mindset would be different. I’m sure that Ellis looks at the football club now and recognises that he’s made mistakes. He spent an awful lot and now wants to do things differently. We have to do things in a way where we can get steady growth and be more sustainable, so that we’re not being kneejerk in what we do. We couldn’t continue the way things have been in recent years but he is absolutely, categorically, still funding the club. Looking at getting steadier growth – to change some of the identity issues that we’ve had and invest in different areas of the club – is so important for us to move forward. When you’re in the situation which we’ve been in the past, you’re making last minute signings, you’re not doing what you set out to do, I can see why mistakes have been made. We made some last season and I hold my hands up to that. I just think we need to get things on an even keel so we can get it right and avoid those mistakes. In terms of the governance of this club, we’ve brought in £40million, the wage bill has been brought down considerably, the operation costs have been brought down which is something that’s very important for the club. When you look at it from that perspective, there is an impact being made. I really do believe it will turn, I know fans can’t see it at present because of the recent results but with some positive results we can say we’ve made progress. There’s 10 new players out on that pitch, and they’ll be thinking, wow. They’ll have heard about the atmosphere, what a big club it is, and that’s why they’ve come here. Fifteen players have left since we kicked the last ball last season, and 10 have come in. Youngsters have come through the system. That’s a huge transition and it will take time. It’s been difficult in recent weeks, understandably, but I do believe it will turn in our favour.”

Furthermore, Bain insists that despite a lack of big spending the transfer window was a success. “I look at the transfer window as a success. Leave the finances aside for a second, we sat down and we said, right, what kind of footballer do we want to bring to the club? Where we are at in this moment, we have to get the footballing basics right, we need to get the environment right so we can then have a go. We’re just trying to be more conservative and diligent in terms of what it means for our future outlook. A lot of the legacy transfer fees that we’re paying are impacting the football club at the moment in terms of handcuffing our ability to do certain things. In terms of how we’re structuring club contracts going forward, it’s about protecting the club. I don’t like things in them, like for example an exit clause that allows a player to leave on a free. It’s just about having that constraint in terms of the structure. Vito Mannone goes back to this case in point about how we’re trying to run the club. Vito is obviously a very good goalkeeper. He had a year left on his contract, which was going to run down, and Sunderland would have got nothing for him. The right thing was, and this is regardless of the other circumstances, to ensure that the club protected its investment and got some money for Vito. That’s what I mean about efficiency.”

Meanwhile, Simon Grayson is looking forward to the return of long term absentees, Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair but has urged supporters to give them time to recover fully before castng and judgement upon them. “They’re not going to be the saviours that are going to hit the ground running. They’ve been out for such a long time, and we have to be very careful with our approach.That might mean a little more time with the Under-23s, or not starting a first-team game but coming on for ten or 15 minutes. However we need to do it, we’ll be guided by the specialists and physios, along with the fitness coaches too. But the gaffer does think that the returning players negates the need to dip into the free agent market. “I’ve not had a conversation with Martin Bain yet because we feel the players we’ve got coming back will help us along the way. Duncan is back with the group now, and McNair is making good progress as well.”
The gaffer has also hinted at changes for tomorrow night’s Carabo cup game with Everton and has acknowledged the fans patience with him thus far. “I’ve tried to be as honest as I can, and tried to put together a team that will reflect the supporters. They’ve been good. They understand what I’m trying to do, and they’re giving me time to do it. Ultimately, results are the major thing, and I’m not daft enough to think everyone thinks I’m doing the right thing. It hurts me whenever I lose games, but I’m confident in my ability and the group of players I’ve got that we’ll go on a run where we will get up the division and challenge.”

New boy Callum McManaman has been satisfied with his start on Wearside but he’s eager to add goals as soon as possible. "It has been decent but I want to score more goals. I’m still not fully fit but I feel like I am getting there and when I can get one goal I can get a few. All the lads are gutted we didn’t get the three points, we all felt we fully deserved the win. I am made up for Vaughany because I think he needed that for confidence. He will get a few more now. He knew exactly where I was putting it when I got to the byline, I didn’t even need to tell him. He knows what we are going to do, he has seen me play over the years."

In more heart-warming news, both Sunderland and Everton will wear shirts with the Bradley Lowrey Foundation logo on the front instead of the club sponsors. After the match the shirts will be auctioned off to raise funds for the newly created foundation. Speaking at the launch of the Bradley Lowrey Foundation launch at the Stadium of Light his mam Gemma said, "We are absolutely thrilled to see the Foundation logo on the front of the shirts. The game has a very special meaning to myself and Carl and we are overwhelmed by the support we have received from Sunderland and Everton. Bradley will be watching over everyone and I'm sure he would be very proud that his legacy can now help others."

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Gaffer sees improvement
But we must start to win

Simon Grayson insists Sunderland are improving all the time but it’s still a slow building process. “The performances have been encouraging. The other night we played well against Forest and on Saturday we played well against a good team. We dominated for large parts (taking the lead through James Vaughan), we just needed that second goal when we had our chances. We didn’t quite get it and a deflected goal is what ultimately got them back into the game. We know there’s a lot of work to be done but it’s a slow process. It’s not something that can happen overnight and nothing’s determined in September. We know what we need to do. We’ve got injured players coming back over the next few weeks – McGeady and Watmore which will help us and make us stronger as we go along. We showed some characteristics. We’re hard to beat and limited them to few opportunities. They’ve got Bowen and Grosicki – two of the most talented wide players in this division – but we handled them well. They are forward-thinking and ultimately, they had to change their system to combat how we played in the first half. That was credit to us.”

Marc Wilson has echoed the gaffer’s sentiments and has described the atmosphere in the dressing room as positive. “I think we’re a very positive team and the manager’s positive with the lads. We’re a work in progress, but I can see things starting to gel together better for us as a team as was evident against Forest in periods. On Saturday, in the first half especially, I thought we played some tremendous stuff. In the second half, fair play to Hull they changed their system around and they got at us and made things difficult for us. We’ll go away and look at the negatives and work hard on the training pitch to put it right because we want to be doing well, we want to be getting positive results and we know we need to work hard to get those results in this league. When we get Aiden fit we’ll have two of the best wingers in the league. Obviously, I know Aiden and he’s a fantastic player with fantastic ability so once he gets himself fit again and firing balls into the box that will help Vaughany because he thrives off that stuff. If anything we need to put more balls in the box and ask questions of defences. I think we’re definitely improving as a team but we can’t take anything for granted because it’s a difficult league as we’ve found out already. The new boys, especially Callum, have been fantastic and Jonny Williams is looking like a really good player, I think he’s going to be very good for the club. I know results haven’t been good and we understand that as a team but it’s up to ourselves to take responsibility for that and rectify it.”

Fellow defender Bryan Ovideo has also seen improvement in the lads but has called on them to return to winning ways as soon as possible. “It’s not been easy, but I think we’ve improved, our attitude was good and we’ll continue fighting. We now need to focus on the Carabao Cup game at Everton on Wednesday and win it. It’s really important for us and our confidence to start winning games. We have a very good team and very good players, we need to improve now every time we play. It’s important for us to do that and keep looking forward. I hope we do that in our next games and start winning. I think we lost two points. We got a point but we came to win. We played very well in the first half, but the second half was not easy – Hull changed their system, they played well and made a little trouble for us. It is normal for a home team to put pressure on in the second half, but we defended well, but I think the goal was really unlucky for us. It was not the result we wanted, but we made opportunities in the first half and we had opportunities at the start of the second as well.”



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AT LEAST WE DIDNT LOSE
BY PADDY HOLLIS

Saturday’s draw at Hull wasn’t the most positive result, but it did put an end to a dismal four-game losing streak. Once the dust settled, there were plenty of positives to take from our trip to Humberside as well as a few concerning negatives.

Let's start with the positives, seeing as though there aren’t too many of them around at the moment. Personally, it was great to see James Vaughan get his first goal, he’s had a lot of critics over the past few weeks and hopefully, that’ll give him the confidence he needs to push on. He’s put a lot of graft in with little to show for it and we could be relying on him a lot more if Grabban’s injury turns out to be as bad as first feared.

We seemed to play much better than we had done in the previous few matches. Williams and McManaman look like excellent editions to the squad with their energy and ability, the latter assisting Vaughan with a fantastic cross. Going forward we looked more dangerous and we should have been further ahead when the hosts levelled.

This is one of the few downsides to the match. For the second time in four days, we failed to see the game out. We lost three points late in the game on Tuesday; on Saturday, we conceded a sloppy goal to drop two more.

To lead for so long and not win is something which has troubled us in the past and looks likely to plague us in the future. Admittedly, Kone did what he could to get a block in for their goal, but luck just isn’t on our side at the moment and Meyler’s deflected shot squeezed into the bottom corner, summing up our season so far; too many late, poor goals conceded.

Hull were almost in as poor form as we were, so a draw is what many fans might have expected before kick-off. However, to tie in the way in which we did was a kick in the teeth and another reminder of the harsh reality of the Championship.

Our cup game at Everton in midweek should be seen as a chance to give our all against a very good side. Third placed Cardiff City’s visit to the SoL on Saturday, ends a difficult week as we look to put a stop to this dreadful winless run of home games we find ourselves in.

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post HULL craic…
REACTION

Sunderland had to settle for a 1-1 draw away at Hull, with James Vaughan netting his first goal at SAFC following a barren spell. The home side’s equaliser came courtesy of David Meyler, with a massive deflection off Lamine Kone helping the ball past goalkeeper Ruiter. Vaughan was so thrilled with his first goal for Sunderland that his boisterous celebration earned him a booking — we do say that all we ask for is passion!

Simon Grayson had this to say afterwards about the result and his negative substitutions. Grayson said: "We didn’t pass the ball or retain the ball as well as we can do [in the second half], you give the opposition credit because they’ve got some talented players. Bowen and Grosicki are probably two of the most talented players in the league and we contained them, I think we just ran out of steam, the likes of McManaman and Williams who were very effective, the week caught up with them. We wanted to make substitutions like for like but we didn’t have the strength in depth to do that, that was probably the thing, we wanted to be secure but I wanted the options to be a threat going forward which we didn’t quite have. We wanted to get the second goal and we nearly did, McGregor made a great save from McManaman, Honeyman had a two on two with Vaughan which we couldn’t take advantage of. Sometimes you see games through or win them through the bench and we just don’t have that at the moment. Give it time to get McGeady, Watmore back, those extra options will help us. I’m disappointed but pleased with some elements," he added. "Based on the first 45, 60 minutes where we were very comfortable, created some good chances, got the goal, played very well. We didn’t have too many chances against us, you know that they’re going to come out and put you under pressure, to withstand it as we did was pleasing because you see the spirit and the character. For all the pressure the equaliser was a deflected goal, so I'm pleased but also disappointed because if we got the second goal we could have won the game.”

The gaffer also praised James Vaughan, who was ill this week, but managed to play and score, at last. “Vaughan was in bed Thursday night and all day Friday with sickness and diarrhoea so he was on his last legs in the last 15-20 minutes. But he did ever so well today to get off his sickbed and contribute as he did. I was pleased that he played and got his reward with the goal as well. Grabban’s going to be out for a few weeks. I’m not going to say how long but it’s going to be weeks rather than days. It’s a blow to us because he’s been doing well and we are not in a position where we have loads of bodies to fill that position.”

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