After being amused by a new terrace song that points the Mags in the direction of the Championship, Pete Sixsmith witnesses a performance at West Brom that suggests that they could well be singing it at us come the end of May …
Returning from the dismal performance at The Hawthorns on Saturday, we had a cathartic moment just to the east of Derby. As our convoy of unhappy travellers negotiated a roundabout, we were passed on the other side by coachloads of happy Wolves fans, returning from Barnsley having just been crowned Champions. Two clubs heading in different directions: their fate assured, ours in the process of being sealed.
Emma Horan texted me as we returned. “Was it as bad as Notts County?” she asked. That refers to what I consider to be Sunderland’s most gutless performance in all the years that I have watched them, when a scuffed shot from Bally kept us in the second tier of English football at the expense of Brentford. Until then we were 3 down and heading back to Level 3. After the game fans fought among themselves.
Let’s agree that it wasn’t as bad as that, but it wasn’t far off. It was the worst performance this season by a country mile and against limited opposition who rarely win. That they did, and so easily, is a terrible indictment of the state of our club and points clearly to Championship football next season.
Eventually, these players need to realise that they are not very good and that all the talking up in the world will not win games. If I hear one more player come out and say “The spirit in the dressing room is great”, I shall find that player and ask him why it is that the players appear to do nothing but bicker on the field.
Great team spirit comes from players helping one other out. West Brom have it; they were positive, accepted mistakes from team mates and, as far as I could see, didn’t get on each others backs.
Andy Reid was the main target for our lot. Every misplaced pass was greeted with a shake of the head by Cisse, a shrug of the shoulders by Jones and a finger wagging by Ferdinand. You could see Reid shrinking by the minute as he was offered neither encouragement nor help by his team mates.
The unbelievably sloppy defending that gave the worst team in the league three goals was typical of the way things have gone this year. Couple that with the fact that it’s difficult to remember the last time we scored a decent goal (probably Middlesbrough away, when Healy came on and set one up for Jones