Sunderland's 5.5m deal for Graham almost done… but will he want to join them after last night's abuse from the fans
11:02 GMT, 30 January 2013
11:32 GMT, 30 January 2013
Danny Graham will today complete his 5.5m transfer from Swansea to Sunderland after refusing to be deterred by the vicious abuse aimed at him from the Wearside club's fans during last night's 0-0 draw between the two sides.
Manager Martin O'Neill has targeted the Newcastle-supporting frontman to ease the goalscoring burden on Steven Fletcher after being replaced at Swansea by Michu.
But Sunderland's fans, still angry about his dismissal of the club during his time at Watford, booed him throughout, labelling him “scum” and “a w****r” and ensuring he can continue to expect such hostility even after his signing is confirmed.
Hostile: Graham was abused by Sunderland's fans last night, even though he will sign for them today
'Put it this way. I would stay as far away from Sunderland as I could', Graham once responded when asked who he would support if Newcastle no longer existed. 'It would probably have to be Gateshead.'
It is this for which the striker, who wasted an injury-time chance to win the game for Swansea, has not been forgiven. Though the rivalry that exists between Newcastle and Sunderland has always been fierce, for a new signing to be so unwelcome is regardless unusual.
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Newcastle fan Lee Clark enjoyed a successful period at Sunderland after signing from their rivals – albeit before an acrimonious exit – but Graham's reception in many ways mirrors that experienced by Rafa Benitez at Chelsea.
Unwanted: Chelsea fans still do not accept Benitez
The Spaniard was intensely booed upon his unveiling as Chelsea manager and has still not been accepted by the club's fans who continue to show their support for his predecessor Roberto Di Matteo, effectively making his job consistently more difficult.