Monsieur Salut writes: the club’s statement on the completion of Josh Maja’s move to Bordeaux was short and uninformative. We awaited some thanks, either way. They came belatedly from Maja and we should give him the benefit of the doubt and accept them at face value as being his own sentiments, not some old dross churned out by his agent(s). Social media being what it is, the response has been mostly unforgiving and mostly unappealing …

This is how Josh Maja chose to bid farewell to Sunderland:

‘Would like to express how much of an honour it was to break through into senior football at such a special club that is Sunderland AFC. I had many blessed moments during my time at Sunderland. Wishing everyone involved with the club all the best in the future’

I have said it and others at Salut! Sunderland have said it, too. Many of us come across chances during our working lives to move to other positions, new employers, different places.

Mostly, I suspect, loyalty to our current employer comes some way down the list of priorities as we weigh up the pros and cons.

Football is an activity where loyalty is even more rare a commodity than in other walks of life. Few if any clubs, players or managers receive or give it. Josh Maja was not employed to be a Sunderland supporter but to play football. He did it well and if we go up this season, it will be in no small measure because of his efforts before he left. And now he has chosen to go elsewhere.

Plenty of questions arise all the same.

Did he tell Jack Ross one day that he wanted to stay and allow his agent, next day, to overrule this decision? Did he and/or his agent(s) show scant respect to Sunderland AFC? Was there not a way in which he could have repaid what the club had done for him, completing the job started this season (of helping us back up) and still fulfilling his wish to get away in the summer? Is sitting on the bench or in the stands at Bordeaux really so much better than all the options to stay, if only temporarily?

Those questions, and others, may or may not be answered.

But even if I find myself in a minority, I refuse to associate myself with some of the wilder, nastier comments posted at Twitter about his departure. You may choose to go there and decide for yourselves or you may feel no need to do so.

I continue to wish Josh well, to thank him for his contributions to our cause and to ask him to reflect on whether he, in the end, feels 100 per cent proud of the way he ultimately treated the club he considers “special”.

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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.

20 Responses to “Josh Maja: fall-out and falling out as Bordeaux uncorks its cheeky new red” Subscribe

  1. Stephen Walker January 27, 2019 at 1:28 am #

    If…
    Josh had been honest to the manager who had faith in him.
    His Mum had the decency to say goodbye on his behalf rather than just empty his locker.
    He held his agent to task for treating folks at SAFC like dirt.
    Then he’d be a man worthy of more respect.
    A kid he ain’t.
    But seemingly nor a man.

  2. Brian January 27, 2019 at 2:45 am #

    Oh please put away the lleenwx and grow a pair.
    The lad is taking advantage of a specual talent as anyonr would in a similar situation.
    He has said things people want to hear as we all do.
    Duplicity is de rigeur in the world we live in.
    Football is a sport that exemplifies this unfortunate trade.
    Who can forget bent the badge kisser.
    We all would exchange our current lifestyle and occupation in a heartbeat if we knew that by signing a document we could double our wages ( at least ) for the next 4 years. Just because asoro failed it doesnt mean maja will. With this current manager there is a strong likelihood we will be languishing in this pub league come may. Why should he take the chance otherwise?
    He was damned whatever way he went about securing
    his future.
    The safc parochialistas need to pick up the toys they have thrown away and be honest for a change

    • malcolm January 27, 2019 at 12:28 pm #

      I’m worried. There are actually a couple of points you make I agree with. First time for everything.

    • Neil January 27, 2019 at 4:42 pm #

      But Brian you must be furious that you were knocked of the FA Cup yesterday. 2 nil at home. What will Rafa do next?

  3. David Miller January 27, 2019 at 5:47 am #

    The terse club statement reflects the ill feeling created by the player and agent.

    The photo above is superbly poignant; reminiscent of the Roker floodlights too.

  4. CSB January 27, 2019 at 7:27 am #

    Very sad to hear the news of Nigel Saddington passing away at only 53. Played football with him in my younger days on Roker Clifftop. My thoughts go out to his family.

  5. Drummer January 27, 2019 at 8:21 am #

    This move particularly sticks in the throat because similar situations have occurred before and they certainly weren’t to our advantage. Bent, Grabban and now Maja , prolific goalscorers ( if little else) who left us mid season and we couldn’t recover. Maybe there’s more to this Maja move than meets the eye,as it’s rumoured that it’s something to do with the remaining fee due to Bordeaux for Khazri. Whatever the truth is I hope history doesn’t repeat itself for us and we find goals and a tighter defence from somewhere .The novelty will soon wear of if we don’t get promotion.

  6. malcolm January 27, 2019 at 9:44 am #

    I was in my first proper job for three years and three months. I left for more responsibility and with it more money. Much as I enjoyed the place I was working and the people I worked with I had no qualms about leaving. My second job I did the same after 6 years for the same reasons. I did the same several times over my working life. Some people stay in the same job all their working life.

    As fans we have loyalty to one club and there are many who expect players to feel the same but there is an element of hypocrisy on those who use words like traitor or complain that he is “chasing the money”.

    Is Luke O’Nien a traitor because he chose to leave Wycombe after playing more than 100 games for them? Is Jack Baldwin a traitor for leaving Hartlepool then playing 100 for Peterborough? Is Craig Samson a traitor for quitting St Mirren part way through the season to become our goalkeeping coach? Going back in time, were Brian Clough and Charlie Hurley traitors for leaving Middlesbrough and Milwall to become Sunderland legends.

    I suppose that depends on which club you follow and how well developed your sense of perspective is and how many of those who complain he is “chasing the money” wouldn’t jump at the chance at moving jobs if they were promised a huge pay rise?

    Maja’s gone – move on but when he played for us he always gave his all, unlike plenty of others we have signed in recent years. I am sorry to see him go and feel that his development as a player might have been better served had he stayed a bit longer, but I thank him for his contribution which has put us in a decent position at this stage of the season.

    Now it’s up to the owners, the manager and coaching staff to build on that for the rest of the season. Good luck Josh. I hope you don’t regret the move.

    • salutsunderland January 27, 2019 at 11:30 am #

      Classy post, Malcolm.

      • William C January 27, 2019 at 12:59 pm #

        I echo that.

    • JEL January 27, 2019 at 4:41 pm #

      I 100% agree. People need to think back to their own decisions (or lack of them) at age 20. Good luck Josh.

  7. Paul Summerside January 27, 2019 at 2:29 pm #

    One thing is absolutely certain in all of this…We are a weaker side without him. I sincerely hope a replacement can be found or its another year of learning to walk before we run again. Going forward, can we please start contract negotiations at the 1 year to go mark, so a repeat of this farce never happens again.

  8. Roddy January 27, 2019 at 3:40 pm #

    Good post!

    Let’s face it. Unlike true supporters, whose hearts remain tied to their side no matter how barren the prospects, players are hired mercenaries. By and large, they go where the grass is greener. Maja is no exception.

  9. Brian January 27, 2019 at 4:22 pm #

    I honestly think this move was more for the benefit of the agent rather than Josh, I wonder how much less he would have got had Josh stayed. Agents are the curse of football

    • malcolm January 27, 2019 at 10:34 pm #

      Please note dear readers, this Brian is not the same as the one who regularly posts anti Jack Ross and Stewart Donald diatribes.

  10. David Miller January 27, 2019 at 4:32 pm #

    An excellent post by Malcolm.

    However……

    I don’t recall Hurley or O’Nien – and there’s over 60 years between those transfers – screwing their previous club; and I can think of no occasion where our club has screwed a player.

  11. malcolm January 27, 2019 at 7:02 pm #

    Imo the two errors in this whole business were the club not being in a position to offer him a new contract last summer because of the change of ownership and the Djilibodji, N’Dong situation and Maja apparently saying he wanted to stay.

    I don’t think giving an ultimatum helped though I understand why the club did so.

    It’s a shame the whole thing wasn’t kept private.

  12. scotter January 28, 2019 at 10:40 am #

    Of course all this goes against the club’s current business model which is to bring Academy players through and sell them off.

    When O’Nien becomes the stalwart of the team, which he will, and is then sold on for a hefty profit supporters will take proper notice of these policies.

    The club got it so wrong with Maja by delaying his contract which in turn has cost them millions in getting a proper fee for him.

    If Donald or Methven feel they have to keep agents in check this should be a wake up call.

  13. malcolm January 28, 2019 at 11:02 am #

    Interesting comments from Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie, giving their side of the Maja saga on Roker Report podcast.

    https://rokerreport.sbnation.com/2019/1/28/18199769/roker-rapport-podcast-transfer-special-with-sky-sports-north-east-reporter-keith-downie

    At the beginning after the Betdaq advert.

  14. vince January 28, 2019 at 11:59 am #

    Sad to see him go ,he was class.

    But this is the reality we face now,the past coming back to haunt us,we can’t seem hang on to good players very long.

    Hopefully we can scrape into the top two spots but its easy to see that we may struggle now, we need some wins and forget about him,he is no longer an issue….onwards and upwards.

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