Roll back to May when Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven formally completed the takeover of SAFC, their meeting with the Football League will no doubt have featured Salary Cost Management Protocol (SCMP), part of Financial Fair Play that clubs in League One and League Two operate in.
In a nutshell SCMP limits the spending on wages to 60% of a club's turnover. However, a Transfer Embargo can be applied even if a club hasn't overspent, but merely has shown that they are heading for an overspend. An example of how this could be applied to us is the final parachute payment from Premier League relegation. Let's say that wasn't required to pay of large sums of transfer fees owed from previous deals, and we spent it all on big-waged players yet failed to achieve promotion - we'd potentially be in big trouble next summer.
As an example of just how big the shackles are, Aiden McGeady currently earns approximately 5% of the clubs projected turnover according to our sources. He's not even close to our biggest earner right now, and yet under SCMP we could only pay 12 McGeadys in League One. Every other player would have to be academy graduates under the age of 20, who are excluded from the calculations.
Cattermole as we reported yesterday is on a considerably chunk more than McGeady. Even players like Adam Matthews are being paid more than those we've signed this summer.
Once you get into this line of thinking, it becomes pretty obvious that we're in no position to spend 'big' in the traditional sense of that phrase. Couple that with the fact that we probably need a minimum of five additional players, assuming no others leave, and the pot you have to spend gets smaller and smaller.
Of course the picture becomes a little less drab if the likes of Papy Djilobodji, Lamine Kone and Cattermole himself are moved on as planned. It wouldn't be a massive surprise if McGeady left also if a potential suitor waded in. It would give Sunderland the freedom to push the boat out that little bit more.
However with the transfer window shutting early this year - quite typical when SAFC need a longer one than usual - moving on all of these players and completing the signings of their replacement is an extordinarily difficult task.
That all sounds horrific if taken out of context. The context is important. And in this case, the context is League One.
Despite significant shackles in our spending and ridiculous wage budget, Sunderland are still in a competitive position compared to the majority of our league rivals. The masses of season ticket sales have obviously had a big impact on that - so well done to all you lovely people who were in a position to buy one and did. Other clubs would have struggled to shell out the wages required to lure the likes of Jon McLaughlin, Chris Maguire and Glenn Loovens who are all players accustomed to playing for accomplished football clubs in higher divisions.
Sunderland are probably not going splash out huge transfer fees between now and 5pm August 9th. But chin up lads and lasses, it's not because our owner is tight. We're doing alright. And there is always January anyway.