SUNDERLAND fans want chairman Ellis Short to dig deep and spend, spend, spend this summer.
That’s the finding of the Echo’s Survey 2013, the paper’s annual comprehensive questionnaire of Sunderland supporters, who feel that major investment is needed in the close season if the club is to progress.
Martin O’Neill, who spent well over £30million of the American’s money in the transfer market in the last year, admitted shortly before his sacking in March that he felt the current squad still “lacked real, true ability”.
And successor Paolo Di Canio (pictured below) spoke in his final few Press conferences of last season about the vital need to revamp the squad, saying that six or seven new signings were needed at the very least.
Those are views that have chimed with Sunderland fans who feel that the club could do with spending major money.
The answer which out-polled all the others to the question: “How much money needs to be spent to get the squad ready for next season?” – was “More than £40m.
But the second most popular answer: £30-£40m, was not far behind in terms of votes, although almost as many fans thought £10m-20m would do the trick.
It will be interesting to see how much is spent this summer by Sunderland, but the signs are that Short will definitely be looking for value for money this summer after being disappointed by the quality and cost of several signings in the O’Neill era – though he has been equally unhappy with the spending of previous managers Steve Bruce and Roy Keane.
Supporters, though, feel that significant outlay is essential if the club is to go forward.
“Break records,” said Nicky King, of Peterlee, boldly.
Bryan Simpson, of Chester-le-Street, called for £30-40m to be spent but added: “Make them astute signings as well.”
“More than £40m,” said Ray Smith of Flookburgh-over-Sands in Cumbria. “If he spends wisely, which I think he will, then he will need to bring in about nine or 10 new players.”
“More than £40m,” said Grant Richardson of Fulwell. “My view is we need eight players to compete for the first team and a further four squad members as a result of the total mess made by our last two managers, and former chairman, on appointments, recruitment and assembling a group of players.”
Vic Broncz of Sunderland wanted a similar outlay, adding: “It’s not a matter of who to replace, it’s do we really want to keep any of the non-performers from the 2012-2013 season?”
And Fulwell-based A. Stephennson commented: “We need quality and quantity players who have the right temperament, not injury-prone and not too old and who can perform in front of over 40,000 demanding fans at the Stadium of Light without going into their shells.”
Sean Kelly, of County Meath in Ireland, opined: “We need a drastic clearout. Let’s face it, just look at the number of players we had this year who had been relegated with other clubs – Vaughan, Gardner, Fletcher (Fletcher’s probably an exception as I think he’s a quality player), Larsson.
“These clubs were relegated because they weren’t good enough and then we think they’re good enough for us? And as for Danny Graham, who couldn’t get a game with Swansea? I rest my case!”
John Blackburn, of Sunderland wants £40million or more spent, and he added: “With this new TV deal, teams are going to be spending!
“There is still a lot of Bruce’s team at the club, I would like to see a lot of them move on.
“Some have been good servants, some have just not performed, and some are just so inconsistent it is unbelievable!
“If Di Canio wants to make a real stamp on this club, six or seven good players are needed!
“I back him 100 per cent in sacking all the scouts the way he did. A new type of player is required through the ranks – do not just base it on who you know and fitness – you can teach fitness but you cannot teach ability in football!”
Others thought the club did not need to spend quite so much.
“Realistically, it would be nice to spend £30-40m, but we are not sure what the manager’s transfer experience is like at this level,” said Les Lowe of Sunderland.
“£30 to £40million,” said one anonymous reader. “We have to be realistic – we are not going to get six £10m+ players however much we want them. Maybe we can raise about £12m for Bardsley, Elmo, Ji, Graham and Cattermole.
“We could get three promising younger players for that, and maybe add three better quality players if the club stumps up another £30m.”
“£30-40m,” said Paul Doran of Whitburn. “The squad is threadbare. If more players leave, Mr Di Canio is going to have to bring in eight to 10 players minimum – and with quality!”
James Forster, of New South Wales, Australia, said: “The club needs a good clear-out. I think £30m is about the mark – mind you, it’s not my money!”
Then there were those who thought who believed much could be accomplished at a much more price.
“£10-20m,” said Dan Ward, of South Shields: “Purely because I can see us bringing in a fair few Bosmans and hopefully being a lot cannier in the transfer market.
“Still a big overhaul needed in the squad.”
“£20m could do it – with shrewdness,” said Mr Trotter of Seaburn Dene.
Only THREE readers suggested the club needed to spend nothing this summer, including Duncan Ellis, of Wimborne Minster, Dorset, who explained: “I would rather we spent nothing and got players with ability, desire and commitment rather than spend millions on relegated ‘stars’ and has-beens.
“In truth, if we are to have a clear-out, that will raise some funds and we can start allowing youth to filter through in dribbles.
“Make use of the Bosman players. However, I do believe we should look to get some of the youth players from the likes of Man United and Arsenal in particular, with both clubs spending big this year. Our own youth set-up needs improvement.
“Otherwise spend what Mr Short can afford.
“Arsene Wenger has done a great job at Arsenal.
“The amount of money spent is not always the be-all and end-all, as relegated clubs prove.”