SURVEY 2013: Goalless Graham’s the fall guy at Sunderland

Danny Graham.
Danny Graham.
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MANY Sunderland players will admit that last season they under-performed.

Some would even admit they under-performed quite badly.

But when it came to selecting Sunderland’s worst signing of the 2012-13 season, supporters had eyes for only one man – Danny Graham.

The Tyneside-born, former Middlesbrough forward was a £5million January transfer window signing from Swansea and proved to be a goalscorer who simply could not score goals for Sunderland.

He was bought by Martin O’Neill, primarily as cover for Steven Fletcher.

That proved not to be a bad move for the former manager, for Fletcher got crocked in March and was not to play for the rest of the season.

Unfortunately for Graham – and, ultimately, for O’Neill – the goalless run the new man had been on before Fletcher was injured, continued after the Scot was ruled out for the remainder of the campaign.

It was hard not to feel a little sorry for Graham, who often carried the attack on his own up front and was full of willing running and lay-off play in a team which created few chances.

But there was no getting away from the fact that Graham failed to score in any of the unlucky 13 games he played for the Wearsiders last term.

And when it come to that goalless streak, Sunderland fans were in unforgiving mood.

In the Echo’s Survey 2013, the 27-year-old polled almost twice as many votes for Sunderland’s worst signing than all the other signings PUT TOGETHER.

He was streets ahead of Louis Saha in second place and James McFadden in third – those two polling well ahead of the rest of the back but a long, long way behind Graham, who attracted almost two out of every three votes cast.

“A pointless signing and a big wage,” said Philip Fenwick, of Sacriston, of Saha.

While Graeme Anderson, (not the Echo writer!) of Meadow Grove, Sunderland, spoke for many when he described McFadden’s signing as: “A waste of time.”

An oversight saw Adam Johnson excluded from the list of disappointing signings and many respondents to the survey pointed out that he would have been their choice.

It was Graham’s signing, though, which attracted most comments.

Brian Tyson of Silksworth, said: “He should never have been signed.

“It was a statement of a lack of ambition from Martin O’Neill and from Sunderland.

“O’Neill should be made to pay the fee out of any settlement he receives! Di Canio should cut our losses this summer if possible.”

Grant Macdonald, of South Shields, said: “He looks a Championship player – he looks slow and cannot time his jumps.

“Most of his career has been in the Championship and I think that’s his level.”

David Bowden, from Leicestershire, queried: “What was Martin O’Neill thinking about?”

One harsh reader said: “He couldn’t score on a night out, never mind on a pitch.”

But there was a kind word from Chris Jobes. of Boldon Colliery, who said: “I picked Danny Graham for worst signing. but I think he’ll be better after a full pre-season.”