We've had a couple of odd former player interviews pop up in the last couple of weeks. They made me think, which is generally quite dangerous. I've also added a poll at the end, interested to know if there are any other like-minded cynics among our readers.
I want to get it out there from the start, the big fella was a great presence at the club on and off the pitch and, despite me finding it particularly strange that he has his own logo now, I have nothing but fond memories of Vito Mannone. I'm really not sure what the logo is about, perhaps it's a MLS thing - who knows.
Anyway, Mannone was quoted the other day as saying that he "did not want to leave" Sunderland, before he went on to say;
"To hear somebody in charge say the target was to survive in the Championship, it was not in line with what I wanted."
I am being completely cynical here I realise that, but that sounds to me like someone who wants to leave. And I'm not just saying that because of the logo.
It's interesting that Mannone highlights Martin Bain focus was on surviving in the Championship, rather than setting sights on any kind of promotion or play off charge - perhaps the bloke knew more than we gave him credit for. Obviously we had no money (Bain was being paid most of it), Sunderland 'Til I Die, etc etc.
His next point clarifies, in my mind anyway, that his departure was mutually agreed;
"I wanted the best for Sunderland and for myself."
The best for Sunderland, as in a bit of coin that we'd waste on crap players, and best for himself because he would move to Reading and just about survive in the Championship. Turns out the move benefited nobody, with Mannone’s ambitions unfulfilled and SAFC unable to find a goalkeeper with hands that work. Perhaps everyone's fortunes may have been quite different had he stayed, since his hands worked and he was always a big character in the dressing room - something we drastically lacked last season.
He continued in his interview and said some really nice things you'd expect from a top bloke like Mannone. It came just a few days after a stranger interview from former Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan.
This was another fella I was a big fan of, albeit temporarily. I loved his demeanour, he had some ability and an infectious personality. Then we all fell out with him after he chased a considerable pay increase and to this day we'll never know for sure how much was his own doing and how hard Sunderland pushed to complete the deal. Wounds heal and all that, so I don't spend much time thinking about Gyan anymore, then I read his recent interview and it was a bit weird. At least he doesn't have a logo (although that does seem much more of a Asamoah Gyan kinda thing to do, so maybe he does and I'm just not aware of it)
Again Gyan had plenty of nice things to say about Sunderland and Sunderland fans, like most former players who want people to like them. Then he said;
"It’s not a club made for the lower divisions. I plan to help in any small way I can after I hang up my boots.
“I’m planning a lot of things when I retire. I have plans to start an airline company, and that’s getting closer. I have investments in Africa, too. But I’ll always be in football. You never know, I may play a role for Sunderland soon. I would love to help.”
I told you. Very weird. He was interviewed by Roker Report a little over a year ago too, where he claimed;
"There were options but I was pushing my agent to contact Sunderland because I wanted to come back. I didn’t feel like I left in a good way and I wanted to come back and continue what I left."
Not sure I believed him then, and fairly sure I don't believe him now. What about you? I've added a poll below, because otherwise this article would've been completely pointless.