Earlier today news broke that left back Reece James was set to leave to go to Doncaster Rovers, just weeks after signing a new contract. This deal was clearly for the club’s benefit rather than James’, ensuring that the club receive a fee. The fullback didn’t set the world alight with his performances at SAFC but was consistently solid. Sunderland surely have to sign another left back, presuming Bryan Oviedo leaves and Ross sees Denver Hume good enough to start the majority of games this year.
James said: “I had a conversation with the manager and Cliff Byrne and they sold the club to me. The ambitions they both have match mine – and that is to challenge for promotion. That made my decision an easy one and my mind was made up that I wanted to sign for the club. I’m really excited about the opportunity to come to Doncaster after playing quite a lot of games last season. I watched the games in the play-offs last season and they were really unfortunate not to go through, but as a team they were great to watch. I know the league and what it takes to get out of this division, hopefully that can add to the experience in the squad that is already here.”
As Jordan Henderson has recently been offered freedom of Sunderland, it is a fitting time to reminisce about one of our academy’s brightest ever prospects and look back with pride. Henderson joined the SAFC Academy aged 8 in 1998, making his senior debut in 2008 at 18. The midfielder played often as a right-winger; he was then converted to a holding midfielder where he caught Liverpool and Kenny Dalglish’s eye, signing for The Reds in 2011 for around £20 million. At the time that was a lot, and for a very long time Liverpool fans used their new captain as a scapegoat. However, they now see his value and what his perpetual work rate brings to the team; £20 million seems like a fantastic bargain, with Henderson proving priceless to the team. Times like this make us realise the possibilities that our amazing academy can bring.
In other news, former Sunderland goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery has recently been inducted into Sunderland’s inaugural Hall of Fame. At the event, the 75-year-old was asked his thoughts on current number one Jon McLaughlin, as well as a short recap of the recent season under the new stewardship of Donald and Ross. “Jon has had a great year and I just hope he can continue next year. He’s been superb and when you go around the boxes and the rooms, people say ‘if only we had him last year, we might have had a chance of staying in the Championship.’ That’s quite right. We just have to plod on and make sure the mistakes we made last year don’t occur this year. It was disappointing in the end because we should have gone up automatically. But apart from that, it was just lovely to see Sunderland winning games again because we’d gone a long time without seeing Sunderland win at home, even. So, to have a season like that [was great], where we started brilliantly and did well in the middle. It just wasn’t to be. The club was in a difficult place, but they’ve come and they’ve turned it around. For me, Jack did a great job. He was presented with what he had and for me, it’s a great job. Long may it continue.”
Meanwhile, Sunderland flop James Vaughan has made the move to recently relegated Bradford City. Vaughan of course failed to make an impact on Wearside, before being shifted to Wigan. At the time Vaughan seemed to poke fun at his former club- tweeting “Maybe see you next year in the cup”. However, Sunderland fans appear to have the last laugh in this particular dispute, as Vaughan’s new club Bradford find them a league below the Mackems. Maybe we’ll face Vaughan in the cup next year.