Former manager Gus Poyet claimed last week: “There’s something inside Sunderland, something at its very core.
“If I knew what it was I’d say, but I don’t.”
He was referring to something intangible and mysterious. Unfortunately we’ve been hearing this waffle for years; and not just from Gus.
There isn’t a hex, or a poltergeist, or a sect of evil players.
What has occurred is successive managers making bad signings, with the toxic outcome of an inadequate squad and £139m debt.
With the exception of Di Loonio, all the recent managers seemed reasonable appointments at the time.
But they all spent badly. The owner did not force any manager into any signing, but he did trust their judgement and backed them with cash. Lots of it.
Gus Poyet was not all bad at Sunderland. Far from it. But he did recruit Vergini, Ustari, Scocco, Bridcutt, Gómez, Rodwell, Vergini, and Álvarez. The combined transfer fees and salaries for that lot come to exactly – loads. A large chunk of the debt.
It isn’t that it’s too difficult for us to do the maths properly. It’s that it’s too depressing.
Hope this clears up the “mystery” for Gus.
The problem is that spouting half-baked conspiracy theories is much more fun than applying reason.