Wise Men Say: Proof player power has gone too far now

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The defeat to Chelsea left a rather a strange and sour taste in my mouth.

It wasn’t the manner of the loss, although it does raise some questions, or that I felt the result was unjust. It clearly wasn’t.

It was the way that Chelsea had obviously upped their game that was so unpalatable.

Don’t get me wrong, under normal circumstances you can’t fault any team for giving their all. In fact, that should be the least fans should expect.

But the fact that they shamelessly turned it on after of weeks of seemingly underperforming in what now looks like a successful attempt to get Jose Mourinho the sack, was more than a little unsavoury.

I’m not the first to feel that while the Premier League and its ever expanding riches has brought football in this country many positives, it has robbed the beautiful game of more than a little of its soul.

The game at Stamford Bridge, for me, was a classic example of player power having gone too far.

I won’t sing the praises of Jimmy Hill here (given his history with Sunderland while at Coventry City), but I found it more than a little ironic that, on the day of his passing, some Chelsea players so blatantly showed how little regard they hold their former boss and the club’s fans in.

Whatever your feelings on the late Mr Hill, he was instrumental in abolishing the maximum wage for players (then set at £20) and worked very hard to improve their rights in an age when the clubs ruled over the superstars of the day.

And yet now the pendulum has swung too far the other way, well for me at least.

Players in Hill’s era had to fight for every penny, every little right.

Today it seems these multi-millionaires can decide if and when they will play for the shirt or manager without fear of reprisal.

Still, the fact that Chelsea’s stars have got over their tantrum and have decided to start trying again, should not paper over Sunderland’s shortcomings.

There was talk about Sebastian Coates being ill before the game, well I wasn’t feeling too clever after seeing his defending for the first two goals.

Coates wasn’t alone, there were others who made costly errors during the game, both in attack and defence.

But the Uruguayan’s performance once again gave you pause to think about the rights and wrongs of playing with three centre-backs.

Sometimes it has appeared to be ideal, and on others we have had to change it early in the game, having found ourselves trailing.

Perhaps Sam Allardyce will continue to start with the formation in the hope that strengthening in January could see it bring more rewards than problems.

On a slight plus note, the lads kept fighting until the end, grabbed a goal and maybe could have had a couple more, with a bit of luck or some better finishing.

Like I say, the fact we are still fighting should be seen as a positive, but we all know that more than that is going to be needed to get us out of our current predicament.

I never thought that big Sam was just going to walk into the Academy of Light, wave a magic wand and everything was going to be OK.

And while I have seen some improvements there’s still a lot more needed.

Magician or not, big Sam may need to pull a rabbit or two out of the hat in the January transfer window if Sunderland are to conjure up yet another great escape.