James Hunt: If Danny Graham gives his all, Sunderland fans can lay off the boos
Fan’s Eye View
What a difference a day (and a half) makes.
Tuesday 29 January, 9.15pm: Danny Graham is booed by Sunderland fans as he comes on as a substitute for Swansea.
Thursday 31 January, 2pm: Danny Graham signs a three-and-a-half-year deal with Sunderland.
There are no real surprises when it comes to football transfers nowadays. However, surely not many players can be booed by a club, only to sign for them 36 hours later.
We were always likely to be in the market for a striker this window, especially as three of them were allowed to leave.
A couple of the usual suspects were mentioned – Gary Hooper, John Guidetti, Jan Koller – but Graham's was the only rumour that seemed to have any weight behind it.
Hand-in-hand with the talk of his arrival was the talk of his allegiances. He's made no secret in the past of his boyhood support of Newcastle, and before long the world and his aunt had seen a snippet of an interview given to a fanzine in which he was less than complimentary about us.
Opinions everywhere were divided, from the offices of our fanzine A Love Supreme to social networks and people in the pub. There were three schools of thought on Graham:
1) Fans wanted him, regardless of who he supports;
2) Fans didn't want him because he was a Newcastle fan;
3) Fans didn't want him because the deal didn't represent value for money.
I sat somewhere between 1 and 3; I'm not sure he's worth the £5m fee, but I couldn't really care less who he supports as long as he gives his all on the pitch (and doesn't take fashion tips from Lee Clark off it – remember his 1999 Cup final T-shirt).
The booing is peculiar, to the say the least, as I cannot remember him being booed on previous occasions against us. This means, in effect, he has been jeered for wanting to sign for us. And, despite that reaction, he still wanted to come here. That, for me, says a lot.
I think for the majority of fans it'll be a case of if he gives it his all and scores a few goals then it won't be an issue.
On the flipside, if he misses a few chances – especially at St James' Park – then it'll be used by some as a stick to beat him with. The fact he wanted to come here, though, should ease the fears of fans who have bad memories of Clark and Michael Chopra.
Where he differs from those fellow Newcastle fans is that he's never actually played for them. He's never been paid to wear their shirt; never been cheered by their fans. Of course it's not quite as (ahem) black and white as that –Titus Bramble played for them, and manages fine, although he wasn't a fan and we enjoyed seeing him play for Newcastle more than their own fans did.
We've signed someone for a fairly sizeable fee, who publicly made clear his intentions to leave in order to help the transfer progress, fits in with Martin O'Neill's style and scored 12 Premier League goals last season. Sound familiar?
James Hunt writes for Sunderland fanzine A Love Supreme
Latest in Sport
A tight game could be in prospect here. Northampton have been keeping things very tight of late and ...
by Gareth Purnell
18 May 2013 02:01 AM
I can’t ever watch games of football or rugby without wistfully wondering what it must be like to be...
by Martin Ayres
16 May 2013 05:10 PM
Since PSG’s exit to Barcelona in the Uefa Champions League quarter-final in April, PSG have been sur...
by Matthew Riding
15 May 2013 02:37 PM
Stoke City investigate 'religious abuse' after 'pig's head is found in Kenwyne Jones' locker'
Is David Beckham one of the Premier League all-time greats? He's not even in the top 1,000 says Chris Waddle
Groundhog day looms for Arsène Wenger as Arsenal battle for a place in the Champions League on final day
Andre Villas-Boas ready to spark Tottenham revolution
One last swipe at Manchester City and then Sir Alex Ferguson was gone...
- 1 Stoke City investigate 'religious abuse' after 'pig's head is found in Kenwyne Jones' locker'
- 2 Gove’s lesson: spare the comma, spoil the child
- 3 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 4 Join Ryanair! See the world! But we'll only pay you for nine months a year
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.