Time to fess up. When those miserable mackems signed a veteran striker 12 months ago on a deal lasting till the end of the 2017-18 season my joy was unconfined. The highly incentivised contract allegedly made Jermain Defoe the highest-paid player at the stadium of plight, on £70,000 a week, totalling £12m by May 2018.
They must be even more desperate than Desperate Dan, I stupidly thought, recruiting this has-been from the soccer hotbed that is Toronto. They’ll be stuck with him in the Second Division (please don’t call it the Championship) and with luck will sink even lower, burdened by his ludicrous wages and waning ability. He’ll be near the top of one list, I assumed, the one detailing the most disastrous mid-season transfers. Thank goodness Newcastle United are avoiding suicidal deals of that ilk.
That was my conclusion on January 16, 2015. As we know, football can make mugs of us all. And that pint-sized poacher Jermain Defoe wasted little time in proving I’m a gigantic ignoramus. More relevantly, he wasted little time in proving that those buffoons charged with running my club (Charged? They should be hung, drawn and quartered) are utterly misguided.
Defoe helped to keep his team in the First Division and extend the appalling sequence of defeats we have suffered against the neanderthals. All right, four goals from 19 appearances was not exactly prolific but those four were worth at least seven points. More than enough to avoid relegation. Suddenly, that £12m deal looked as cheap as chips. No wonder the rumour mill had suggested nine or 10 of Sunderland’s rivals had been interested in ending Defoe’s Canadian sojourn.
We can safely assume the Magpies were not among those courting him last winter. We don’t sign strikers who, season after season, have done the business. We don’t sign 32-year-olds. We don’t pay £70k a week. We don’t table deals linked to success in tasks such as scoring goals.
Wait a minute; perhaps that last assumption is false. Maybe our players are on highly incentivised contracts. If so, many should be down the DSS most weeks applying for working family tax credits.
Meanwhile, Jermain Defoe goes on his merry way, with nine goals from 17 league games (13 starts) this season. Check his stats and that’s par for the course, if substitute appearances are discounted.
He’ll be 34 in October and I fully expect by then he will have preserved his club’s utterly undeserved elite status for another year.
What I don’t expect any time soon is that we will be signing a striker even half as prolific as our mackem nemesis. Let’s hope my crystal ball is, yet again, totally useless.
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