Anyone who can forgive and forget being called Mother Teresa by Roy Keane has either a short memory, or is capable of drawing a convenient blank.
Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn has attacked ‘predatory’ clubs for agitating players to seek a switch by placing rumours of their interest in the press.
“We hope to get what we want and we certainly know what agents want – money, end of story. But I can’t put the club at risk in bowing down to these predators,” the Drumaville frontman wrote in his weekend programme notes.
But weren’t Sunderland the very club Reading boss Steve Coppell accused of unsettling Stephen Hunt (currently the subject of renewed transfer speculation: see front of sport) this time last year?
If I remember rightly, Coppell angrily accused Keane & co of behaving badly by making their rejected £2.5m bid for the Waterford man public, which “did me no favours… I would like to go back to the old way of doing business, where you phone people up and where that verbal communication is the end,” he said.
Also, with so many comings and goings at Sunderland over the past few years (in two-and-a-half seasons under Keane they bought 33, sold/released 23, loaned in 6, and loaned out 31), it’s unlikely that all deals were conducted with player stability in mind.
Plus, clubs can’t expect anyone to believe that when they want to get rid of players, either to bring in fees or reduce wages, they don’t go through every available avenue – agents, journalists, whomever – to suss out prospective takers; not to mention the scarcely new phenomenon of certain chairmen allegedly bumping up prices as a favour to other selling clubs by expressing a supposed interest in a certain target.
God knows players have more earning and decision-making power than ever, but people in stadia of light shouldn’t throw stones.