View Full Version : Whitley playing for his Sunderland future

Flappy Chicken
14-05-2004, 10:24 AM
Sunderland enter the play-off first leg at Crystal Palace this evening with no less than 10 of the squad on contracts that are on the verge of expiring.

Ever since the collapse of ITV Digital in particular this has been the story in the Football League and once-prosperous Sunderland are still feeling the pinch of relegation from the Premiership 12 months on.

By the end of Monday night's return leg players such as Jeff Whitley, who has appeared 40 times this season, will know a little more as to whether Sunderland can afford to offer him a second one-year contract.

Whitley, brought in by Mick McCarthy as a free agent in a deal that suited both parties, expressed the uncertainties each individual faces and the nomadic nature of professional football below the Premiership.

"I have no idea where I will be playing my football next season," Whitley said. "Until the play-offs, until you see who gets promoted, no contracts will be sorted. Who knows?

"It would be a big highlight in my career to help this club back into the Premiership. A lot of people probably thought, 'Jeff Whitley, where is he now?' I had two seasons out at Manchester City, I broke my ankle, and things weren't going my way.

"But to come here and kick-start my career has been fantastic. I owe the manager big time for bringing me here. He had belief in me, he gave me a contract and once I got into the team it all started from there. I want to repay him."

Only the captain George McCartney is believed to have been assured he will be receiving an improvement to his contract, and that is because Everton have shown interest in the left-back.

Other first teamers are in limbo. Jason McAteer, John Oster, Darren Byfield and Tommy Smith will start this evening in the same situation. Whitley at least has the memory of City's famous play-off triumph against Gillingham at Wembley in 1999 to spur him on; Sunderland's Wembley play-off memory is not so inspiring - the 4-4 draw with Charlton in 1998 followed by a lost penalty shoot-out.

Palace, moreover, defeated Sunderland 3-0 at Selhurst Park only last month, but the Wearsiders had Mart Poom sent off early on. "Palace deserved to win down there against 10 men," McCarthy said. "But they will see a different Sunderland this time. If you work off the barometer of two victories over Norwich and Burnley, we are going into the play-offs on a high."

18-05-2004, 08:54 PM
I think we can safely say that went tits up didn't it!!!!!

palace & proud
19-05-2004, 12:19 AM
What a tw@t the way he took his Penalty,wouldnt of been so bad if he scored.

19-05-2004, 09:24 AM
He must be on his way out after that spot kick. At least if he had gone for it like the others he would have come away with his pride intact - whereas now he just looks like a prize plonker!

19-05-2004, 09:31 AM
In Reading, the smell off the municipal dump was always referred to as the 'Whitley Whiff', until they moved it to build the Madjeski Stadium.