OK, we hope (!) we’re safe but who’s going down?

on the clip and enjoy the fun.

Some day soon, we will probably arrange these videos so that they appear in a permanent link list in one of the sidebars (not least because the clips themselves don’t fit there).


For our Who Are You? feature, Salut! Sunderland asks the same question of fans of clubs we’re due to play: who will finish in top four, in order, and who will be relegated (the unwritten instruction is “any order” but lots of people make 18/19/20 choices)?

No one so far has suggested Sunderland.

Portsmouth, Hull and Wolves probably get most votes – one day soon I will do the calculations – and there are mentions for West Ham and Bolton.

But …

I used to loathe exclamation marks. Years of working with younger people, and decades of supporting Sunderland, have changed my mind. I now use them all the time. So if asked “can we go down?”, the answer is: “Of course we bloody can! Look at the Premier table! Consider our history!”

A Sunderland-supporting football reporter at a very respectable national newspaper has privately – and publicly, for all I know – expressed concerns. He expects us to drop a few places all too soon and is convinced we are “simply not very good”.

I am torn between thinking we are good or goodish but pretending to be bad, and – yes- admitting that we are “not very good”. I need reassurance. It is unlikely to come on Saturday and that is no disgrace provided we give Chelsea a decent fight.

If we can give them a fight and get one or three points, I’ll be happy enough on Saturday night, but the days of SuperKev and SuperThenDon leading us to 4-2 away at the Bridge are a distant memory.

All that said, I am not mentally equipped for another relegation scrap. Wins against a few of the teams coming up – Everton (a), Portsmouth (a), Wigan (h) and so on – would be grand, and we’ve done it, in the past, versus each of those clubs with weaker sides than we can field now.

Ha’way the Lads, as once explained to a gentleman of the London press by our own Bill Taylor – see comments on the posting before this, about the 1973 FA Cup final.

Colin Randall

3 thoughts on “OK, we hope (!) we’re safe but who’s going down?”

  1. Excellent points, Ian and A T Hedley. You may remember, as I do, those regular letters in the Football Echo from B J Irwin of Bangor, Northern Ireland, bemoaning the failings of the team even when we were racing towards promotion playing some of the most exciting football I’ve seen from SAFC and then finishing seventh top two seasons running in the Premier.
    Sunderland fans – maybe football supporters generally – are notoriously hard to please. Of course there is quality in the present squad, much more so than in all seasons since those two, mentioned above, under Reid. But injuries and suspensions affect every club and we have sometimes seemed unable to provide adequate cover for the resulting absences. I agree that some cards have been particularly harsh but the players can hardly claim to be unaware of the consequences of certain actions: kicking the ball away, tackles from behind and so on, given the current climate which. as Mr Hedley suggests, is hostile to football as a contact sport.
    But if you think Salut! Sunderland is occasionally too negative – not our intention; we’re fans and just want the best for the club – you need only to look beyond this site to RTG forums or the Blackcats list, both of which contain assessments and comments that make our more measured criticism seem like the most extravagant flattery.

  2. I fully concur with Ian, the nonsense which is talked about the team invariably ignores the huge problems injuries have caused when coupled with players who have been banned under a tot up of yellow cards.

    Some of the offences have verged on ludicrous where refs appear to be seeking to create a non contact sport. All too often the ball is clearly played first and even dramatically changes direction but the tackling player is penalised. Yellow card offences should be punished during the game in which the offence takes place and the team offended against gains the benefit. The totting up system is not only unfair to other teams but with the eccentric double standards throughout the premiership on the part of different refs with the more physical players are like a red flag to a bull even before kick off. We have had our team destabilised, time and again this season.

    Our performances against the better teams, when we are at full strength, indicate Bruce is heading in the right direction. There is little doubt we still need new players but that is unlikely to be fully addressed in this window.

    A good summation Ian

  3. I think the current team is very good. We’ve given Liverpool, Man U etc a run for their money. If we’ve got everybody fit, then we’re a force. In Bent we’ve got a regular goal-scorer, and in Cana and Cattermole a steely midfield. Turner is a good centre back who can score and Reidy is on form, Henderson is coming through, a couple of decent goalies in Fulop & Gordon, Da Silva and Mensa adjusting well. We’re a good team.
    I think we belong mid-table between 8th-12th. We just need to sort our away form out. Our recent form has not been good but, remember, we’ve had a host of injuries.

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