Excited by Sunderland takeover rumours - I'm going to make up some more!

Somewhat ironically, light has been in short supply around a stadium which includes the word in its name.

Thursday, 29th March 2018, 9:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th March 2018, 9:25 pm
Niall Quinn with his Freedom of the City of Sunderland scroll.

Dark clouds have cast shadows over the club for too long now - but that might be about to change.

Even if they are just rumours about a potential takeover, it’s far better to be buoyed by them than to be slowly trudging, zombie-like, towards an impending doom.

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The immediate situation hasn’t changed. Five points away from safety with eight games to play - Sunderland require performances of a consistency that haven’t been seen in the two years since Sam Allardyce’s tenure.

In short, too much to ask.

But any talk of future plans always comes with a certain amount of hope.

More than anything, we want this takeover talk to have some truth in it, no matter how much weight is attached to it.

Seeing those headlines about Niall Quinn’s association with a possible takeover consortium felt like a gulp of air to a drowning man.

Come to think of it, that might be the best way of getting us all through these coming months until an actual takeover materialises. At the start of each month I’m going to start a new rumour of an approach to allow Ellis Short to relinquish the reins.

On the first day of each month, I’ll sit down at my kitchen table with four bowls in front of me.

Each bowl will represent four different categories: the country the bidders come from, the source of their wealth, the sum of their bid, and finally which manager they would like to bring in to oversee their revolution.

Inside each bowl will be folded pieces of paper with suggestions for each category. In the case of that final bowl, Chris Coleman’s name will be included on more than one piece of paper, just because it seems fair he should be given the chance to rebuild given the restrictions placed on his recruitment so far.

For example, the first rumour could be India, steel magnate, £80million, Sven-Goran Erikssen.

I never said they would all be good or believable, but when there isn’t any hope coming from anywhere else, you’ll still grasp onto nettles if it stops you falling over the cliff, won’t you?

Other news that has come to light this week has been of potential summer transfer targets. With Chris Coleman attending Shrewsbury’s game with AFC Wimbledon, the names of Jon Nolan and Toto Nsiala were mentioned.

Before we get on to those players though, we probably should mention the spanner in the works that could annul any future deals. Shrewsbury Town currently sit top of League One and therefore have an excellent chance of replacing Sunderland in the Championship next season.

“But surely they wouldn’t turn down a move to Sunderland, would they?” you might ask. You may well be right but for two players who haven’t played at that level before, the pull towards staying at Shrewsbury would be great.

It might be suggested that financially they would be far better off here too - but unless a takeover happens then there isn’t going to be a wow factor when that contract is pushed under their noses!

This is something we are going to have to come to terms with too if we are in League One under the current regime. No money, more problems.

So what of these two targets? I’ve seen a lot of both players in the past, but I know Nolan very well in particular as we had him at Lincoln City when I was there and I loved him as a player. He was one of those players who you just knew had the ability to play at a far higher level than the National League.

At Lincoln, for whatever reason, he always seemed to be playing within himself. You knew there were at least three extra gears for him to move into if he wanted to, but the moments he did were all too rare.

It was frustrating knowing he had the ability to dictate games, not only with the ball but by breaking lines with his forward runs. Looking back, it was probably down to his age. He had all the physical attributes but some players mature mentally a little later and I think that’s the case with Jon.

He is what your dad would call ‘a lovely footballer’. He glides around the pitch effortlessly and if there is something Sunderland could do with in the middle of the pitch, it’s legs. It’s his big strength and given the right role, he can be a real asset breaking forward.

He moves the ball around the pitch with style which leads some to think he should be used more in a deeper position to control games from there, but to me that would be a waste of his potential.

That passing could be far better utilised further forward if he is encouraged to break forward with and without the ball.

Jon probably sounds to you like the player we thought we were buying when a record fee was splashed out for Didier Ndong and you’d be right. Jon certainly would have made more of an impact at the Stadium of Light, while saving the club the majority of that huge fee.

Looking at things from that perspective, maybe a lack of finances might not be the worst thing in the world.

If you don’t have any money, at least you can’t waste it, eh?