He rode in on his glittering Roman chariot to exterminate Sunderland's eternal woes, slaying the Mags in the process in true swashbuckling style. The gladiator set forth a revolution at the Academy of Light, showing all the right fervour and passion. Battle lines were drawn but it was always going to be a poisoned chalice. As the harrowing way revolutions go, they tend to devour their own children. Tragically at the end, he became a pathetic and lonely figure, seeking solace from suffering fans.
It took a little digging – but let me tell you just who our new Swedish wonder kid is. David Moberg Karlsson (who will be affectionately referred to as ‘DMK’ hereafter) signs a four year contract for a fee reported to be around £1.6 million from Swedish Allsvenskan giants IFK Göteborg. Despite looking like he would struggle to buy a lottery ticket, he is 19 and comes to Wearside with heavy expectations from his home country.
Right. Firstly, sorry about the title - one of them 'couldn't help myself' moments! The much-travelled 26 year-old Frenchman’s free transfer to Sunderland had long been agreed, with confirmation on 01.07.2013 that he signs a three-year contract. Valentin Roberge was born in Montreuil, which is a suburban area in Paris. As you would expect, he spent his youth career in his hometown which ended with Paris FC before moving to Guingamp.
In this regular feature we will be rummaging through the memory banks to pinpoint the earliest and most treasured memories of following Sunderland. This week, blogger Gary McLaughlin takes you back to the late nineties and turn of the millenniun. I have spent so much time on this first paragraph. I wrote about those horrible clichés everyone readily blurts out, you know, rollercoaster amongst others. Yuck. I even made up my own non-sensical one. How do you introduce someone to some of the most magnificent memories which magnanimously moulded the person you are today? Yeah okay too many M’s…
Cabral, or to give him his Sunday name, Adilson Taveres Varela, is not someone most Sunderland fans would have known a lot about before his bosman move to Wearside this summer. A little internet browsing will tell you he was born in Cape Verde but represented Switzerland at U18, U19, U20 and U21 levels before declaring himself for the country of his birth at senior international level. He is yet to obtain his first full international cap.
The 2012-13 campaign marked the start of the new national system for the under-18s set-up, with a new Barclays U18 Premier League replacing the old Premier Academy League. This was intended to enable a more secure transition for players with the potential to progress from youth football into the first team. Beginning with the teams playing each other in group leagues, the competition would climax with a play-off in May to decide the champion.
Sunderland’s latest Italian is the erstwhile Arsenal third-choice goalkeeper Vito Mannone. Arriving after a stand-out season from the Liverpool-bound Simon Mignolet, replacing the Belgian will be no easy task. Mannone’s arrival was greeted with a fair bit of hesitancy from the Sunderland faithful. A goalkeeper with a chequered reputation and somewhat down the pecking order at a club which hasn’t been known for its goalkeeping consistency...
Over the years, Sunderland have seen the good, the bad and the ugly side of central defenders over the years, with Steve Bould and Charlie Hurley the only two that played magnificently during their time here. It was a very disappointing season, one where defensively we were fragile and bare in numbers, but since the turn of the summer Paolo Di Canio has already began his quest to bulk up the squad.
It’s been 12 years since Claudio Reyna played for Sunderland AFC and he was the last American to play first team football for the club. There was Stuart Holden, but let’s not get in to that. After weeks of speculation and a lot of waiting, the Black Cats announced that USA International Jozy Altidore had signed a four-year contract and flew straight to join the rest of the squad in Italy.
I really like lower league football. Not that I would want to see us play it again, of course – despite the memories of one strangely enjoyable 1987-88 season in Division 3. I go and watch it in the flesh when I can though I travel a lot with work. Taking in real football at somewhere like Macclesfield...