Meouch! That is going to hurt the already limping Black Cats. At times this season, Fletcher has seemed the only player capable of scoring for O'Neill's strugglers, and losing him is a body blow to Sunderland's survival chances.
The fact that Sunderland are in the relegation quicksand is bad news for West Ham fans, because they are uncomfortably close to us in terms of points and league positions, but with no win in seven, this is exactly what Sunderland did not need.
It's hard to believe that any team managed by Martin O'Neill would ever get relegated, but the same was true of his mentor Brian Clough. Sooner or later, passion is not enough!