I am starting to put together quite a little squad in this “The Greatest Transfers” series. Claudio Bravo in nets, Moussa Sissoko idly hanging around somewhere in midfield and, today, we need someone to form the backbone of the defence. Naturally, we are talking about Joleon Lescott.
Joleon Lescott was rescued from the free agent list by David Moyes in January. Many uneducated folk were surprised that Moyes could think that Lescott would be the man to save them from their impending relegation, but Moyes, as ever, was one step ahead. Lescott had not been signed to save Sunderland, but signed to help the players understand what it was going to be like to have that “weight lifted from their shoulders” once the bell finally tolled at the Stadium of *hite. As we will come on to, Lescott certainly learned a few things in his time at Villa, some of which I am sure helped at Sunderland. Most people flee a sinking ship, Lescott, to his credit, saw beyond the vast amount of money he probably earned on his short-term deal and knew he was there for a bigger reason.
Now, I do feel a bit for Lescott. He was a fine defender for Wolves, Everton and then Manchester City once his long-protracted “Paul Pogba of the day” transfer went through. As time has told us, giving Mark Hughes a lot of money to spend does not always go well, right? A quick note to Ray Wilkins here, you think paying £32m for Victor Lindelof is silly money? Go and refresh your memory on how much City paid for big Joleon. Yeah, right there for you.
I’m a little fuzzy on some of the details, but eventually, Lescott wound up at Aston Villa, moving from West Bromwich Albion. Villa fans were genuinely pleased about his signing, feeling he might be a good addition to the side and Villa could well be moving fast in one direction.
Well, they got the last bit right – they just ended up disappointed about the direction. When fans of a big club know their beloved team are screwed, they at least want the players to pretend they care. Lescott will have learned this lesson at Villa, and taken it to Sunderland, citing the following examples for Sunderland’s doomed crew to understand and take on board.When struggling to put a League Two Wycombe to bed in the FA Cup, they don’t really want to see an
When struggling to put a League Two Wycombe to bed in the FA Cup, they don’t really want to see an overpaid, once useful international player playing some kind of gum chewing/spitting game with the substitute goalkeeper, do they? No, they want eyes firmly trained on the pitch, just in case someone like Joleon might have to go on and defend against the sheer class of the lower league forward.
When getting battered 6-0 at Anfield, it is probably wise to turn off your mobile phone just in case you accidentally send out a tweet of the new supercar you have bought with the extortionate wages you are on, whilst being bottom of the table. This can really upset fans who put most of their hard earned into following your shambolic performances all over the country.
Joleon Lescott was released by Villa following relegation and he got a contract at AEK Athens in Greece, a contract for two-years that lasted two months as he got injured and then released. I know, Villa fans and Sunderland fans cursing AEK’s good luck. Mind you, Greece is the place for relics and all that.
So when the phone rang and David Moyes was shouting, “we’re getting the band back together and we are going to party like it’s 2007 all over again” Lescott was only too keen to sign on at Sunderland. How he, Steven Pienaar, Victor Anichebe, Darron Gibson, Bryan Oviedo and Jack Rodwell must have reminisced over the good times at Goodison Park.
Oh, Joleon played twice for Sunderland and, to quote a Mackem I know, was “right crap in both”.
Well done Joleon, well done.