Re: Anyone buy news of the world???
IT WILL all be about the collective at Sunderland this season. Steve Bruce will have to extract every sinew of energy and talent from his squad.
Bruce has recreated the Stadium of Light as an intimidating place to play. Only Manchester United, Aston Villa and Chelsea won there comfortably last season. No shame in that.
But on their travels, they were pitiful. Two wins, against Bolton and Hull, tell a miserable story.
They also show why there was a brief flirtation with relegation.
Put simply, that will not be tolerated again this season.
Owner Ellis Short has put £100million into the club and is ready for a bit of progress.
It is two years since Short was persuaded to get on board chief executive Niall Quinn's magical mystery ride. Less than 12 months since he took full control.
For a total outlay of just over £20million, it was good business, and in return he has invested heavily in the playing side of the club.
Only in Roy Keane's wanton spending is there reason for optimism this year to be tempered.
If he had not spent so much, if those he signed had shorter, less rewarding deals, Bruce would have more money and a smaller squad.
As it is, Bruce must progress this season, with players he does not want and without some players he would like.
Economics have to come in to it at some point.
Sunderland have not been major spenders this summer. Bruce has been forced to use the array of contacts, especially in South America, that he has built up during a decade as a manager.
Titus Bramble and Michael Turner are not the first-choice central defensive pairing. Richard Dunne escaped last summer. Sol Campbell, Heiko Westermann and Matthew Upson were all higher up the list this year.
Much will rest on the shoulders of Titus Bramble, a player who struggled as much as he strived at rivals Newcastle.
Around him have been astute signings, but not the marquee effort that was expected.
Cristian Riveros showed in the World Cup that he will add creativity to a central midfield that lacked it last season.
And Lorik Cana should not be missed if Jordon Henderson continues his progress.
The mantra after the World Cup fiasco was to remove the obstacles hindering the development of highly-rated youngsters.
Bruce did that when he sold Cana, banked £5million, and can expect more energy and vision in the process.
Bruce has his work cut out this season, but as both player and manager, that is when he has been at his best.
IN: Marcos Angeleri (Estudiantes, undisc), Titus Bramble (Wigan, £1m), Ahmed Al-Muhammadi (ENPPI, loan), Simon Mignolet (St Truidense, undisc), Cristian Riveros (Cruz Azul, undisc).
OUT: Lorik Cana (Galatasaray, £5m), Marton Fulop (Ipswich, undisc), Daryl Murphy (Celtic, £1.5m), Nyron Nosworthy (Sheff Utd, loan), Roy O'Donovan (Coventry, free)
Spouting Shite Since 2002.