Newcastle and Sunderland fans don’t agree on much but next month a double header derby takes place, which most fans of the two clubs will agree, shows an awful lot of what is wrong with modern football.
In August, Shanghai SIPG play Shenhua in both the league and cup, big derby matches for both in Chinese football.
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In the black and white corner we have Demba Ba, Shenhua’s new signing.
Forcing a move from Newcastle to more than double his wages at Chelsea, Ba has then chased the money in Turkey and now China, where despite the poor standard of football he is earning more cash than ever before.
Whilst emerging from the red and white corner grabbing as many notes as he can, is former Sunderland player Asamoah Gyan.
The Mackems paid a hefty £11m for the striker in 2010, only for him to disappear into the desert for more money in the Arabian Gulf League after only 23 starts for Sunderland.
Gyan was only 25 when he gave up any thought s of competitive football and it was an expensive lesson for our Wearside friends, who banked only half their money back when he signed for Al Ain.
Even though he is now 29, Gyan has moved to Shanghai SIPG for a staggering £15m, so you can only wonder how much he is personally getting.
The financial muscle of the big Chinese clubs now attracting a small number of very good, but greedy, players who know the football will be low grade but the pay more than compensates for giving up on playing at a decent standard.
Despite this, Asamoah Gyan has spoken of how much big derby matches have meant to him in his career:
“I have experienced derby matches in many places, the derby for professional players is a very wonderful experience and scoring in the derby feels great.
“I cannot wait to be playing in next month’s two derbies.”
In January 2011, Gyan scored a really jammy injury time equaliser for Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, Kevin Nolan having given Newcastle the lead.