Birflatt Boy lay bare his innermost thoughts

Birflatt Boy gets a weighty issue off his mind

As Birflatt Boy would have it, both Pete Sixsmith and Monsieur Salut have been guilty of wilfully wishing Simon Mignolet well. But is it right that the Sunderland Echo quoted him as saying once he learned of Liverpool’s interest, he set his heart on leaving? Zero mention, we learn at the Blackcats list, ‘of being sad to leave, hard decision, enjoyed his time here, appreciated the support’. Well, maybe he’s already said as much elsewhere. It would still cut no ice with our shadiest contributor …

There was a phrase frequently encountered as a bairn which: “Hail fellah, well met!”

The meaning of is not immediately obvious. It’s also a fine example of grammatical nonsense, but everybody – apart from me as a Birflatt youth – seemed to know what it meant.

“Hail fellah well met!” is a good way to describe Simon Mignolet’s relationship with Sunderland. For those who “divvent knaa” the phrase really refers to an acquaintance that is perhaps better articulated by the more ubiquitous “ships that pass in the night”, describing a relationship which at face value appears to have some substance but, when it comes down to it, mean very little at all.

Immediately after Mignolet’s departure, comments from supporters appeared in various sections of the media saying all sorts of nice things about him, wishing him well and so on.

Call me old school, but I have little time for departed stars. They’ve turned their backs on the club we love. They don’t want to play for us. Off to some other club that will be trying their level best to take points off us next season. Reciprocal loyalty, gratitude, affection? Nonsense, piffle and tosh. Mignolet’s mind was made up as soon as he heard that Liverpool were interested.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sorry Mignolet has gone. He has the potential to be the best goalkeeper in the world and has time on his side. Some of our supporters tell us that £9m is good business. Really? £9m for a player who makes such a difference in matches week after week?

We got more than twice as much from the Moneybags Merseysiders for the Jordan Henderson who is only average on a good day. We’ve given Mignolet away.

My disappointment with the whole Mignolet saga extends beyond the unrequited love of some of our support for a player who esentially doesn’t give a toss about us or SAFC, and indeed beyond dismay at the derisory amount that we’ve received for him.

My real ire stems from the Mignolet’s complete lack of ambition here.

I’m insulted that he would be so keen to sign for a club managed by Brendan Rodgers, whose achievements are limited to getting Swansea City promoted (they have actually done better since he left).

If this had been 20 years ago I could have understood it. He’d have been joining a real football dynasty then; these days the club is not what it was. Not by a country mile.

My own feelings about this transfer are rather like that of a husband coming home to find his wife has left him, only to discover that she’s run off with the binman. Insulted by choice as well as decision.

I’ve never understood the affection afforded to players who have left the ship sinking. It’s not as if Mignolet has left a relegated side, nor was that the case with Henderson and Bent. The way that it has all gone for Bent reinforces my belief in karma.

Kevin Phillips was a fantastic player for Sunderland and has gone on to have a lengthy although perhaps less successful career than his goals for us would have suggested. Phillips left to go on to “better and bigger things” or so he thought.

It didn’t quite work out that way though, departing at the end of a season, in which he – many of us feel – “didn’t try that hard”. Even today he is still eulogised after treating the fans who idolised him with contempt.

The same applies to Julio Arca, the mention of whose name is greeted with a similar response to that given to Phillips. Is this not the same Arca who was banging on Quinny’s door when we were without a manager and had just suffered a humiliating relegation? Yes, the same Arca who a lot of our supporters seemed to think had left his heart on Wearside when he had left in a hurry to further line his pockets at the Riverside.

You are with us or against us. Leave us and play for someone else and you are against us. You have the same respect from me as something I would tread in accidentally in the street. You were just out toy. Our club is not yours.

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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

25 Responses to “Birflatt Boy: end the Mignolet love-in. He’s Liverpool’s now, our history” Subscribe

  1. Goldy June 28, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    Wahoo, someone else who agrees with Gareth and I on Phillips.

  2. clement June 28, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Stop moaning and move on!!! No matter how worse LFC is, sunderland still can’t compare and compete with them!!! So just stick to ur low grade club where you belong!!! Trash article!!!

    • John Mac July 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      Ah yes, the wit and repartee for which Liverpool is famous. Move over Tarby, your time is done!

  3. Tom Lynn June 28, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Mignolet did brilliantly for us last season and I would say that whilst he is a very good ‘keeper too many are going overboard about him. Great reflex ‘keeper, as good as any around, but what about his positioning, distribution and overall command of his area? Villa away is one example of some of these aspects-check it out.
    PDC will have analysed him and decided that the fee will enable him to strengthen us in other areas to the overall advantage of the team.
    What I want to know is when the genius that is Brenda[n] Rodgers is going to reveal who was in the envelopes [a trick SAF did 20 years ago only to reveal it was a wind up and that he had no names in them as he believed in them in the first place!]?
    And will he really play Mignolet ahead of Reina? Strange.

  4. KenG June 28, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    A bit hardline Mr.Birflatt.There’s little reason for me not to wish Simon well. Ok so he’s made his choice, but it’s fair to say that relegation would have almost been nailed on were it not for his performances.I normally agree totally with Tom’s take on all matters Sunderland yet it seems harsh in the extreme to quote the Villa game against Simon.According to the set of stats he was culpable for a mere two goals this season which in my book (and this seems to accord with my own memory) is a tremendous achievement.I also feel the ‘poor distribution’ is over-exaggerated.Most keepers hoof it long, which then becomes a lottery, and as we know we didn’t have the most combative outfield players anyway.For me Mignolet has been the equal of any SAFC keeper since Monty.

  5. Patrick June 28, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    Liverpool are on the up and Sunderland are on the down. Can’t blame him for wanting to feel what it’s like at a big club.
    £9m fantastic deal Rodgers, didn’t think it was possible to get one of the best 3 goalkeepers in the premier league for that cheap.

  6. Birflatt Boy June 28, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    I certainly don’t wish him any harm KenG, but there’s no reason on earth to wish him well when he’s scarpered at the first opportunity that came along.

    It would be rather funny though wouldn’t it to see him languish on the bench behind the aging Spaniard.

    Partick Iwho we can only assume is a Liverpool supporter), thinks that Liverpool are on the up. It’s an interesting interpretation of history that one Partick. Liverpool were once a great club with a fantastic team. That reputation, team and performances are in terminal decline. Only a Scouser in red could possibly think otherwise.

  7. Tim June 28, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    It’s a huge disappointment losing MIg, but the real grief is that he thought he was improving his chances of getting into the Belgian team. Not sure why he is thinking that.

    He should have gone to a bigger club than Sunderland, but he hasn’t. If it had been back in the 70s or 80s I could have understood any player wanting to join them but nowadays. Moderate team and mediocre manager. What a time to leave with the future looking bright under our new regime.

    I think he’s crackers and this time next year he will be full of regrets even if he is better of financially. He should have been more ambitious or got himself a better agent.

  8. Johnm June 28, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    Mignonet is a good keeper, far from the finished article, but is improving all the time. Is he better than Reina? I don’t think so, and L’Pool fans I talk to seem to think Ming will spark an improvement in Reina’s form.
    Player loyalty ? No longer exists , money rules ( and most people would move jobs for significant pay rises) and we follow our team in a time where players stay at the club for 3 years max .
    Don’t like it, but can’t change it.

  9. RedCoutina June 29, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    I find it hilarious that you don’t see Liverpool for what they are? An absolutely massive global club with worldwide support!

    Sunderland are a small little known club in the north east of England!

    Wake up lad!!! You’re almost as deluded as them lot in the black and white shirts down the road…jeeez! Joke article.

    • CSB June 29, 2013 at 7:30 am #

      I think you need to correct your first sentence to ‘I find it hilarious that you don’t see Liverpool for what they were’.

      Additionally new attributes that Liverpool have brought to the game include the inexplicable defence of a racist and vile South American.

      Once Liverpool epitomised what Club football was all about, Shankly, Paisley (who was from Durham) and good pros, now they are but a pale shadow and a fair reflection of the corporate greed where any asset despite how low or vile its actions are defended and wrapped in cotton wool.

      What is most surprising though is how the supporters, who have an awful lot in common with the backgrounds of supporters in the North East, have bought in to this new image of the Club. Shameful really, a club which has truly lost touch with its roots.

    • John Mac July 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

      More wit? Move over Doddy.

  10. Aaron June 29, 2013 at 7:05 am #

    Awe diddums…

  11. CSB June 29, 2013 at 7:14 am #

    The phrase ‘stepping stone’ is the only one missing here. Migs undoubtedly realised that the PL is a shop window, go to a club where you will get regular first team football, try your hardest and see who comes calling. Its just a fact of the modern game.

    I was in record as saying if he wanted to go wait until a good offer came in, but not Liverpool. Still the folly of youth and all that.

  12. scotter June 29, 2013 at 7:38 am #

    Welcome back BB. I thought a return was in the offing when the mice started throwing themselves on the traps.

    I think we have to go back to the days of Monty, John Trollope and John Atyeo to get the sort of player you yearn for.

    What’s the difference between Mingolet and the 10+ new faces we expect to sign. They’ll all say we want to test ourselves in the world’s best league when all they really want to do is climb on the gravy train that is the Premier League. The mercenary nature of players was always thus.

    The link between supporters and players has never been so tenuous, loyalty has gone by the board as you point out but that’s today’s reality. I still think you are being harsh on Mingolet much more criticism should be directed at players agents who cause so much disruption.

  13. malcolm June 29, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    Why should supporters of any club expect a lifetime commitment from any player when (and I know I am repeating myself here) those who run football clubs see them first and foremost as businesses where financial return is more important than the winning of trophies?

    Wigan fans may have loved their day out at Wembley but I bet Dave Whelan and Co. are bemoaning the fact that unless they get an instant promotion they are set to lose millions.

    Players these days are employees, same as most of us.

    During my working life I moved jobs because a) I wanted a bigger pay packet b) I wanted more responsibility c) I lost respect for the people above me and d) I was up for a challenge. Each time I moved my colleagues wished me well and clubbed together for leaving presents. Why shouldn’t we afford players the same courtesy.

    As a supporter what I expect from a player is endeavour, effort and 100% commitment, even if they haven’t got talent. Mig, Whooolio, Tommy Sorensen, Super Kev and many others produced the goods consistently, although I agree that SKP looked dispirited in his last few months.

    Even, dare I say, B£nt and Lee Clark when they were with us tried. It’s players like Flo and Gy£n who spring to mind as ones who I was glad to see the back of.

    • CSB June 29, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

      Would agree with 100% on all except Sorensen. My memory seems to recall that Tommy boy was rather fond of telling us how good he was and that he was too good for the Club.

      After leaving he hardly hit the dizzying heights, conceited twat that he was. He also let in some absolute howlers…Arsenal away anyone!

      • scotter June 29, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

        Wasn’t this the Sorensen who had an agent touting him around after we were relegated saying he’s too good for the Championship and he is unhappy to stay; with the press hanging on the agents every word and producing articles with the sub-text “Come and Get Me”?.

        Wasn’t this the Sorensen who wouldn’t leave for Villa until he got a big fat bonus from SAFC because he never asked for a transfer?

        Wasn’t this at the time the club was down on its uppers financially?

        That Birflatt Boy is a subject worthy of your censure!

  14. Ian_SAfc June 29, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    The thing I don’t quite get about this move is that SM wants to be considered for the Brazil world cup, but risks sitting on the bench against Reina.
    It only makes sense if he’s no.1 choice. (I personally would choose Migs over Reina actually)

  15. Ian_SAfc June 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    By the way, I am quite happy to have Westwood as our no.1. Migs was better than him but Westwood will do the job for us.

  16. Drummer June 29, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    Start of last season I wanted Westwood to be no 1, turned out Mignolet got that position and did as much as any to keep us up . So I personally trust Westwood to do the job. Back to Mignolet , seems like he jumped at the first opportunity to a club with a fantastic history and tradition but who don’t seem genuine title contenders. Might win a cup and is probably getting a hell of a lot more money but we as fans don’t know how that compares to what was in the new contract he turned down . I don’t feel as personally betrayed as when Bent left and the club let it be known about he’s mercenary behaviour . But it adds up to the same thing,yet another class player has seen us as a stepping stone to ” better ” things and that’s how they see it, painfull as it is to us.

  17. William C June 29, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    As others have said, the days of a player staying with one club are long gone. The prevailing attitude goes against the grain for those of us who remember the days of the great one-club players – Finney, Charlton, Haynes, Monty etc , and they won’t return, because football has gone off into another dimension, and the rewards are astonishing.

    I have said on several occasions on this forum that Mingolet probably kept us up last season. He is a superlative shot-stopper. He is certainly not [ yet ] a Banks or a Shilton, but he is as good as most around, and goalies usually improve with age. I do think we sold him too cheap. I reckon £18m would have been nearer the mark.

    However, I think Westwood is a top ‘keeper, and will not let Sunderland down.

    Finally, about Liverpool as a choice? They have a great history but IMO are unlikely to break into the top four as things stand. And that’s where SM should be.

  18. Birflatt Boy July 2, 2013 at 1:35 am #

    From the Mirror. As if to prove my made point………..

    Liverpool’s pursuit of Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has not gone down well with Shakhtar boss Mircea Lucescu. Lucescu said: “I can understand the urge to leave if he has a chance to go to a club that surpasses Shakhtar, like Barcelona or Real Madrid, but not many clubs are beyond our level – not clubs like Liverpool or Tottenham.”

  19. scotter July 2, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Wow!! BB that was posted early this morning.

    Were you up practicing your dribbles again?

  20. Birflatt Boy July 2, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    BB’s mind works all day and all of the night Scotter.

    Creativity is the same as rust marra. It never sleeps.

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