David Jones: Sunderland have never known such riches – they must spend big

Dick Advocaat
Dick Advocaat
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Wasn’t this season supposed to be different?

Were those tears shed on the Emirates pitch back in May when Dick Advocaat had pulled off a miracle to preserve our Premier League status for another season all for nothing?

Now is not the time to panic but we need to give Advocaat a fighting chance and it might just be the time to speculate on our future as a football club.

Didn’t Advocaat say this team needed five or six quality players to break this seemingly endless cycle of relegation scraps?

Did he not take the job full time on that basis?

We were right to expect something different.

We were right because though our generous owner Ellis Short has already ploughed in millions of pounds to make this work, our club has never known such riches.

We were also right because our latest saviour had shown signs at the back end of last season of great promise; admittedly as had Paolo Di Canio and Gus Poyet before him.

Advocaat had made an instant impact, He brought organisation, togetherness, hard work, determination and a cutting edge.

So what happened at Leicester? What was the grand plan? Where was the organisation? Where was the sharpness?

The Dutchman’s selection surprised me too, I know John O’Shea had his moments to forget last season, but you would never question his leadership or his character.

Including Younes Kaboul from the start in O’Shea’s place seemed a mighty gamble to me after such little playing time in pre-season.

And when the ever-reliable Lee Cattermole goes missing in action you know you’re in trouble.

We were cut apart by a team who in all likelihood will be fighting it out in the bottom half of the Premier League with us.

Three nil down after 25 minutes was plain embarrassing for every Sunderland fan, especially the hardy souls who were there.

It feels like a huge opportunity lost, a chance to smash the negativity on day one of the new campaign; instead it’s brought to the surface all the festering doubts of seasons past.

We desperately need to see a reaction on Saturday, I’ve never known a six-pointer to come along quite so early in the season but this game against Norwich certainly has the whiff of that already.

Perhaps Yann M’Vila will make all the difference to our fragile team: in my mind at least he’s been built up to be like Patrick Vieira in his pomp ... the problem is he might have to be.

The Canaries looked sharp against Crystal Palace, don’t be fooled by the 3-1 scoreline. They were unlucky to lose and will fancy their chances to take all three points at the Stadium of Light.

Maybe this is all a huge over reaction to the misery of an opening day defeat; after all, the champions Chelsea looked pretty sluggish on Saturday, while Arsenal lost at home to the Hammers.

I also remember seeing us lose 4-0 in our first ever Premier League game and that season we finished seventh!

Now is not the time to panic but we need to give Advocaat a fighting chance and it might just be the time to speculate on our future as a football club.

Just look at what is happening elsewhere in the Premier League.

On Monday, West Brom laid out £12m for Salomon Rondon a brute of a Venezuelan who’s been plundering goals galore for Zenit St Petersburg, a striker right up Tony Pulis’ street.

Stoke, that most unfashionable of clubs under Pulis, have spent a similar sum on the Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri from Internazionale.

This is a player who Bayern Munich spent €12m on when he was still a teenager. At 23 he needs to prove himself again but, like Bojan, he now has a Premier League stage.

Others too like Leicester, Crystal Palace, West Ham, Newcastle and Aston Villa are spending and spending big.

Of course there is no guarantee that throwing money at it will work, as QPR fans will remind you.

But there is a sense throughout football that the new TV deal could change the course for those clubs who miss out.

Sunderland cannot afford to do that, If this season is going to be different there’s really no time to waste.