ClaretandHugh's ExWHUemployee column

Well I have spent the last week without much WI-FI and signal away with work and have had a lot to catch up with on my return. Big Sam is back in management with Sunderland. The papers did their usual trick of linking him with a number of ex-players as is the norm whenever a new manager is appointed.

The only player who is likely to join Sam at the moment is Kevin Nolan. Whilst, believe it or not, Sam realises his influence as a player is dwindling his power as a captain is still there and is desperately needed at a club short of leaders and short of morale. There is a chance that he will also look to bring in Carlton Cole (although he has been training with Celtic but not signed yet due to an injury set back and long contract talks).

Ricardo Vaz Te is another possible arrival. The rumours of a bid for James Tomkins were completely wide of the mark. Bilic has been impressed with him, especially at right back and he sees him as a decent centre back to, although Ogbonna and Reid remain the first choice pairing.

James Tomkins and Big Sam didn t always see eye to eye so it isn t the case, as is with Nolan, that Tomkins would have a massive desire to be reunited with his former boss. They fell out over the player s insistence on playing for Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics and also when Sam hit out at the defender for his playacting away at Everton. Another player been linked with the club is Morgan Amalfitano who was rarely selected by Sam despite some impressive performances last year.

The midfielder is also unavailable until January having not been released before the August Window closed as is the case with Emmanuel Adebayor, who will also become a target for Sam in January. I would say that James Collins to Sunderland is far more likely to happen than Tomkins, given that we have tried to move him on and he was more of a Big Sam player. The appointment of Sam s backroom staff will be interesting seeing as McDonald, Sheringham and Ian Hendon all have manager jobs elsewhere.

An interesting development this week has been with the ladies team and they seem to be getting the publicity they wanted but all for the wrong reasons. Six players walked out this week with the Captain and figurehead of many years Stacey Little being told she was surplus to requirements. It was always going to be a very difficult job for any manager to replace Julian Dicks as not only is he a club legend but he was popular amongst the ladies.

This could be the reason why a number of ex-players, despite being initially interested, chose not to apply for the manager s position in the summer. The criticism thrown at Marc Nurse is that he has never managed a ladies team before, only academy teams, but this was also the case with Julian Dicks. I think it is a very sad moment when a player such as Stacey Little is released.

I know first-hand how much she cares and has done for the club in previous years and her departure doesn t seem fitting after all she has put into the club. The ladies involved have been quite vocal in their disapproval of the current manager and where the club is going. The club have chosen a quieter approach and will not put in the public arena their reasons behind certain decisions.

I find myself really keen to sit on the fence with this as I have always got on well with Stacey and love the passion she has for her football. I also get on well with the chairman and a couple of players who decided to stay on with the club. The result today was embarrassing although the club did lose 5-0 in the Cup Final to the same outfit last year.

Clearly results need to start taking a more positive turn and positive vibes need to come out of the club. The situation is worrying and the good vibes caused by all the sponsorship money raised seem a distant memory. I hope that they do from the next game but I also hope that some of the players that have departed either can return to the club or certainly continue to have successes in the game.

One person associated with the club who has proven a lot of people wrong recently is Darren Randolph. I suffered a lot of criticism for defending him when he was called upon to replace Adrian for his three game suspension. Yes he had looked dodgy in Europe but so did many players and it was way too soon to write him off, given that he was highly rated before he arrived.

He achieved a MOM award against Bournemouth and two clean sheets away at Liverpool and at home v Newcastle. He has now gone onto keep a clean sheet against Germany and even get an assist . A number of people I know have been to the Olympic Stadium to watch the rugby and they tell me how great it is.

I was also lucky enough to get one of them to film the view from my seat and I was impressed and delighted at my new view. The club have started to draw up a list of players to scout for potential moves in January. Players will need to move on though in order for purchases ro be made.

What is exciting for the club is that Ogbonna, Carroll, Valencia and Song are all at or near full fitness. Having these four back to their best will be a massive boost to our already impressive start. I was delighted to get through and be nominated in the football blogging awards.

I now am through to the final and I go against a number of top blogs with far more followers than I have. I would be delighted if you would vote for me either via the website here under the social awards or by tweeting my vote here 1 . I am sure Claret and Hugh would have been a contender too had they put themselves forward but Hugh s not big on awards competitions and all the stuff yhat goes with them LOL..

I am also looking to speak to people who would like to attend the awards with me so please get in touch via my twitter account if you are keen.

The game next week against Palace is a massive one as both are in form sides, it will be a real marker as to where we are and I think we will get a result.

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