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Ambition-Realism and Common Sense from Ross, IMO

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Ambition-Realism and Common Sense from Ross, IMO

Post  cyprussyd on 2018-07-05, 7:34 am

Jack Ross trying to focus on the now while thinking about the future is a difficult balance


On the one hand, Sunderland's ambitions have to extend beyond one promotion, but they cannot afford to get ahead of themselves either
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By
Stuart Rayner


  • 07:00, 5 JUL 2018


[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Sunderland new signing Alim Ozturk (Image: Sunderland AFC)




According to Jack Ross, the signings he makes in his first summer as Sunderland manager will fall into three categories.
“At the moment, we have players here who have played first-team football and experienced it, but still have potential to fill, so they are ones that fit into the bracket of thinking they can grow with you,” he says.

“Then there are others that we have brought in, or are trying to bring in, that we believe will get better when they’re here too. If they improve and the club progresses, hopefully they’ll play a part in that.
“Then there are those that are a means to an end at that time.”
The balance between planning for tomorrow and succeeding today is always difficult to strike.
Outside of the heat of battle, “short-termism” is a bit of a dirty term, but the phrase “team in transition” has become the go-to weasel words for sports clubs looking to duck their responsibilities. Some have been “in transition” for so long, you wonder where they think they are heading.
For Sunderland, it is even more complicated.

When it comes to stature, the Black Cats are not a League One club. Just getting back into the Championship should not be the height of the ambitions of a club with a 48,000-seater stadium and more than 21,000 season tickets sold for 2018-19.
But if the summer of 2018 has reminded us of anything, it is that reputations count for nothing in football. Right from the start owner Stewart Donald has rightly been at pains to point out that if the Black Cats think they are somehow above League One, they have no chance of getting out of it – at least not via the front door.
But at the same time, Sunderland simply must win promotion this season. Donald has been careful not to turn the heat up too high, but Ross has. All last season’s relegated sides bounced back at the first attempt, as did the likes of Manchester City, Leicester City, Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers, and things have panned out pretty well for them. But when clubs such as Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United did not, things became a real struggle.
The feel-good factor Donald has ignited could quickly burn out if Sunderland under-achieve as spectacularly next season as they did last.
Ross’ early transfer business has been a sobering reminder that life has changed an awful lot in the less than two years since Ellis Short was hastily writing a £13.6m cheque for Didier Ndong.
Chris Maguire, Tom Flanagan and Jon McLaughlin feel like means-to-an-end men. Bosman signings Dylan McGeouch and Alim Ozturk might look more at home a division up, and where Manchester United graduate Reece James can go will depend on whether he can finally get the better of his so-far fragile body.
Not that anything is ever that straight-forward.
Newcastle United, Brighton and Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town all came into the Premier League with squads that looked distinctly means-to-an-end but Newcastle in particular grew into their new surroundings without having to rip it up and start again when their manager in particular seemed to think they had to.


It would be so nice for Sunderland to go from one season to the next without having to carry out major surgery on their squad. The constant instability in the dugout and on the pitch has been a big factor – one of many – in their slide down the league ladder. With seemingly almost every player dashing for the lifeboats this summer, Ross has no choice but to do it again. Even if he had a choice, his predecessor Chris Coleman was right to say, often, the squad needed a good “cleanse”.
It would be good if this time next year Ross was tweaking and tinkering for a step up, rather than having to carry out another overhaul. Hopefully the likes of Joel Asoro, Josh Maja and George Honeyman can be persuaded to stay because their age and skill level means they have time to grow with Sunderland, and the potential to really dominant the Championship after a first full season (in the case of the teenage strikers) of regular senior football.
“I commented in my previous job (at St Mirren) that I had built a squad to win a Championship up in Scotland, not one to be progressive in the Premiership,” Ross points out, and his team achieved that. “At the moment, it’s about building a squad to be successful in League One, not to be progressive in the Championship, because we’re not there at the moment and there are no guarantees we’ll get there unless we put something together that’s good and fits, and means we can go and deal with the challenges in this league.

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Re: Ambition-Realism and Common Sense from Ross, IMO

Post  Kipper on 2018-07-05, 9:06 am

I think the plans are looking good at the moment. You do need that mix. Not giving players ridiculous length contracts is a good move as well as if they don't grow with us/fit etc, then at least we're not held to ransom for years to come. If towards the end of the season we are looking good for promotion and there's players that will clearly do well in the Championship then they can then be offered extensions.
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Re: Ambition-Realism and Common Sense from Ross, IMO

Post  cyprussyd on 2018-07-05, 10:58 am

Kipper wrote:I think the plans are looking good at the moment. You do need that mix. Not giving players ridiculous length contracts is a good move as well as if they don't grow with us/fit etc, then at least we're not held to ransom for years to come. If towards the end of the season we are looking good for promotion and there's players that will clearly do well in the Championship then they can then be offered extensions.
Early on in the Donald regime I remember him saying that the normal contract in division 1 was 2 years and he was amazed at the length of some of our contracts. 

Its all well and good tying great players to long contracts but for us it's cost us big time, Rodwell and his 70k a week and now Cattermole who is n big money long term, if we sell then well and good but if not we are stuck with big wages for a player who could be replaced with a cheaper and probably better version.

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