If youâ€™re a Sunderland fan we would imagine life is pretty good about now. Fresh from a fantastic season in the Championship, with an inspirational character like Manchester United legend Roy Keane at the helm and dreams of the Premiership big boys just waiting to be scalped (not by Keane, although I am sure he has scalped a few players in the past. And where is Alfie these days?)
New signings slowly filtering in there could be plenty more to follow, including some very big names if you believe everything you read.
Keano himself, though, is trying to keep calm about it. Which is unlike the time he tried to kill Alf Inge Haaland,
“We’re making progress with one or two other people and we hope by this time next week that there might be another three or four players to add to that,”
“We’ve agreed prices with a few players and a few clubs and with a lot of stuff it’s sometimes out of your hands so it can be frustrating. But it’s part of the game nowadays and you’ve got to pay the money and it’s important to me to get the right characters and players into the club and that’s what I’ll be hoping to do.
“But we need to chill out and relax a bit. Everyone’s panicking a little bit at this moment in time but I’m quite relaxed because I feel as a club we’re doing everything we can to get the right players in. Peter [Walker, chief executive] and Niall [Quinn] and I, we’re working extremely hard but it’s time and I’m sure you could speak to every manager and they’ll say exactly the same.”
So far Sunderland have been bringing in fleet-footed, skilful players such as Carlos Edwards, Grant Leadbitter and tricky winger Ross Wallace, along with the all round mediocrity of Liam Miller, who Roy must’ve seen something in after his rather up-and-then-really-far-down stint at Old Trafford.
Add to that solid captain Dean Whitehead, Graham Kavanagh, David Connolly and his trio of Irish strike partners Antony Stokes, Daryl Murphy and Stephen Elliot, plus new signing Greg Halford, who arrived from Reading earlier this month, and Keane has a team capable of giving their all week in week out. And that is something that his predecessor Mick McCarthy couldnâ€™t count on towards the end of his reign at the Stadium of Light.
At 16/1 to clinch a top six finish you could do worse, like betting on Bolton or something.