When Drumaville news seeped through at the end of a dire 15-point season it absolutely transformed the feeling at the last match away to Villa. At that stage a deal was not complete and a long summer of due diligence and complicated financial blurb that I had never heard of before held up proceedings. The whole process seemed to take an eternity but on that last match of the season we finally saw some light at the end of one of the many tunnels we have been through.
I suspect the delays were partly what led to Niall Quinn finding out that he wasn’t a manager. I was at the Leeds festival drinking a Stella with breakfast (perfectly acceptable behaviour at a music festival before you judge me) when news came through that Keane was taking over. I was sceptical; my friend Jamie was like an excited puppy. Then again, he usually gets excited about the opening of an envelope so there was no surprise there. That season the phrase ”magic carpet ride” was used in abundance. It felt like we were back. The negativity of the previous years was washed away faster than a sly drawing of a penis on a blackboard, hastily illustrated while the supply teacher leaves the room.
The haste at which Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven completed the deal stands in stark contrast to that long summer. We haven’t really had time to ponder and worry about it to any great extent. These are men who like to get things done quickly. It is no surprise therefore, that less than a week after officially taking the club over we are expecting a formal managerial appointment within hours. Provided it all goes through we will be in a position where we have a manager who has the full transfer window to work with. Now that is still not ideal; managers are usually discussing deals for new players well before the window opens. In addition to that, the new manager will have an additional slog ahead of him. Like a gardener removing weeds before he can plant new flowers, the new gaffer will have to prepare ground for any new arrivals.
Methven talked of the culture of the club changing and that is entirely correct. For a long time Sunderland have been the soft touches. The closest we have come on the pitch to actually demonstrating a will to go toe to toe with other clubs in terms of toughness has probably been Kone’s body slam on Toure. Off the pitch we have demonstrated no toughness at all. We have absolutely been the club that players have joined in order to pick up high salaries for minimum effort. The Sam Allardyce England debacle is another key point which shows how subservient we had become as a club. I don’t blame Sam for taking the England job, I blame the FA for leaving us in limbo and again missing out on valuable time during a transfer window. We should have railed against that, held the FA to account. We whimpered away and accepted it. It was with great pleasure, therefore, that yesterday we were accused of skulduggery. No more Mr Nice Guy. Why should we pander to other clubs? Why should we give Celtic a party at our ground? We are Sunderland. In the years that have passed we have lost that pride and defiance.
Time will tell if our new owners can fulfil what they no doubt have ambitions to achieve, but for now it feels good to be a Sunderland fan. Two things are happening at the moment, firstly we all have smiles, secondly a brief twitter analysis will show you how many Mags are desperately trying to pour cold water on it all. Keep trying lads, we know we’re in league one, but we’re building greatness. Anybody got a rug beater? My magic carpet is a bit dusty.