Hot on the heels of stories linking Sunderland with a million-pound bid for Huddersfield striker Jon Stead, Mick McCarthy has confirmed that after a long, hard summer he’s finally in a position where he CAN buy new players.
In the close-season, the club was rumoured to be staring administration in the face, players and management agreeing to a salary deferral and McCarthy having to wait to sign Jeff Whitley, Colin Healy and Gary Breen until the finances could support three new salaries. One rumour suggested that the club was close to signing the then Wimbledon hot-shot David Connolly but lost out because they were unable to afford even a relatively small transfer fee of around £50,000.
But with Sunderland sitting 5th in the division and playing much improved football since narrowly avoiding equalling Darwen’s record for the number of consecutive defeats, supporters have started coming back to the Stadium of Light, season tickets are back on sale and the club finances are in a healthier state than they were even as recently as August.
McCarthy told the Sunday Sun, “You’ve seen it already with the fact we’ve been able to bring players in on loan.
“Now it’s a case of if the right players are available at the right price, then we might be able to bring them in. It’s fair to say I have an interest in Stead and am looking at players all the time.
But he hinted that the rumoured bid of £1m+ for Jon Stead had been exaggerated by the media and said he hoped the fans would be patient while he hunts for new players.
“I wouldn’t want fans to look at what’s been on the TV and in some of the papers about bids I’ve made for players and think ‘wey-hey, here we go!’ because some of the amounts of money mentioned have been a little bit wide of the mark.”
And McCarthy praised club chairman Bob Murray for his part in the cost-cutting exercise.
“We – and I stress ‘we’, because the chairman, Bob Murray, has been working away at it – have been trying to reduce our wage bill which has been done.
“The real graft has been to enable me to bring somebody in – to get loads off the wage bill, to get that down and enable the team here to go forward.
“There’s been an awful lot of work done to get to the position we are in where at least I can be showing an interest in someone.”