Soapbox: sunshine Saturday


Pete Sixsmith found Hull City very limited opposition. No one is getting carried away just yet. But any 4-1 win in the Premier is good news for SAFC and Pete saw plenty to persuade him that Steve Bruce is leading us in the right direction…

What a week, weather wise. After a thoroughly depressing August, September gives us four beautiful days in succession, to make the wretched summer seem even more wretched. I judge the quality of a summer by the number of times I can have an al fresco breakfast in the extensive grounds of Sixsmith Towers, basking in the sun, pecking at croissants and kedgeree. Number of times in Barbeque Summer 2009; a big fat zero!

A good week for Durham cricketers who wrapped up the Championship for the second successive season, with the only blot on the horizon being the news that the Countys Chief Executive is a Mag – and a grinning one at that. Remind me to cancel my membership.

On a less enjoyable note, it was back to work, not with a smile, but with a dawning realisation that the end is getting ever closer. I sat with Doug Forrest in the beer garden of The Kings Arms and reminded him that it was all of 40 years since we met at what was then Sunderland College of Education. Time passes; that weekend 40 years ago, we lost at Stoke City (some things never change) with Gordon Harris and Mick McGiven our scorers in a 4-2 defeat.

So, as the sun blazed down on a basking 39,000 at the Stadium of Light, we welcomed three new players, a “new” left back and a perma tanned visiting manager. Good turn out from Hull for their local derby and a mood in the ground that things are looking promising. It was very kind of Craig Fagan to give us a helping hand 15 minutes in and we looked effective with Cana and Cattermole controlling the centre of midfield. They remind me of the Stone Age brothers Rock and Gravel Slag in Wacky Races who hit each other over the head to make their car move; all physical strength and power. Mind you, both can play a bit and both look like good leaders. Cana’s experience in marshalling Albania to a creditable 1-1 draw with Denmark, should make captaining Sunderland a cinch. However, both could well be heading for suspensions as referees do not take kindly to some of the (very) full blooded challenges and little trips that are in both men’s repertoires.

Then, we let City back into the game. Loss of concentration allowed them to push us back and some poor goalkeeping and defending allowed yet another goal to the opposition from a set piece. Grumbles at half time as there was a feeling that we should be putting the Hulls of this world away with out too much bother.

Which is exactly what we did in the second half! A cool finish by the impressive Andy Reid was followed by some defending that would have embarrassed the below average 12 year old, allowing Bent to show why he may well be nudging Capello’s memory bank. The win was wrapped up by Michael Turner’s header, rounding off a good debut for him. As Joan Dawson said, “He is proactive rather than reactive” – a direct contrast to Danny Collins who always reacted and never seemed to take the initiative.

The game ended with Mensah and da Silva romping down the wings. Mensah looked very good and I am looking forward to seeing how he does in the Carling Cup game against Birmingham, as Turner will be cup tied. The Brucester has some interesting decisions to make for Turf Moor next week, notably whether we continue to play Kieran at left back. He id well enough here, but Hull didn’t bother with a wide right player and Owen Coyle may well take advantage of this.

As for Hull, this game was a microcosm of last season. Start ok, finish the first half strongly and then fall away in the second phase. I think they will have another long battle with relegation and I am not sure that there is any real quality in the side. Geovanni did little, Hunt had his moments, but took more tumbles than Mr Pastry (one for the older readers!) while JVOH, who struggled in Scotland, won’t score 5 goals in this league. I would like to see them stay up as I have a bit of time for the city, the fans and Phil Brown. However his extravagant wave in response to The Tigers fans calling his name and his sulky refusal to respond to a similar request from the home fans did him no favours. It’s only a game Phil!!!

1 thought on “Soapbox: sunshine Saturday”

  1. My first ‘live’ game of the season was met with expectation rather than hope, it has been the reverse for as many years as I can remember now, and to be fair to the new look side I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw. I suppose I may miss the last few weeks of football’s equivilant of torture as the lads flirt with the relegation trapdoor but I feel confident enough already that April and May in football terms will be rather unexciting for a change.

    It was a much more clinical performance on Saturday tha anything I have seen over the last 2 seasons.There was no nonsense defending, a hard working midfield and a strike force that actually looked like they had some kind of idea what a goal net was for. The overall result was that I had never had as comfortable a last 10 minutes for some time.

    Steve Bruce is a sensible manager.He identified the personnel that was required to take us to the next level, unlike his former team mate who bought players from lower league clubs and expected them to perform at a higher level.Bruce however has bought the quality for Premiership level and disposed of a number of players ,who many of the home suport had been bemoaning for some time, weren’t good enough for our ambitions. It looks hopeful but lets keep our feet on the ground.

    As for the visitors on Saturday I suspect they may be back in the Championship this time next year. After a promising first half where they seemed to be well in the game the defending in the second half was as bad as I have evere seen.Remember I have seen football in the bowels of Scotland so that is a strong statement. More concerning for Tango Man must be the way his team capitulated after the second goal.

    The next 2 games are definately winnable and at the end of September we may only be looking at a further 25 points for Premiership safety.Old habits die hard you know.

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