Salut! Sunderland respects anyone prepared to fill the shoes of Bernard Ramsdale, whose terrific musings have graced our pages ahead of previous games against Wigan Athletic. Bernard – the Landlord of the WAFC site Ye Olde Tree and Crown – deserved his rest, and Steve Halliwell* has proved himself to be an able stand-in, but – in marked contrast to Barry, our recent Evertonian – at great length. This, then, is the first part of the interview with Steve …
Being beaten 9-1 at Spurs seem to set you off on a little run, or certainly didn’t lead to collapse, who gets the credit for that?
Well thank you for reminding me, every flamin shot on target went in didn’t it?
For the two weeks after the game on went my Wigan Athletic tie for work, just to show my support in a small way.
The stick I got especially from Bolton Wanderers fans in particular was horrific but my retort was easy due to us being above them anyway.
As for the PNE, Oldham Athletic, Bury Blackpool (4-1 in the Carling Cup was painful) and other North West supporters I just tended to point out exactly what division they are in relative to us.
I know its smug but while we are still in the Premier League I’m going to enjoy every minute of the fun.
As for the credit it has to be the legend that is Roberto Martinez AND the fans who backed him, the spotty faced nameless keyboard morons on less salubrious boards wanted him sacked.
Allegedly we have professional footballers on the payroll at the DW so why on earth they can’t adapt to a slightly different way of playing is beyond me, the object of the game is the same, as is the pitch, number of players, size of the goals etc.
Roberto tends to favour a more methodical passing game, Steve Bruce ran a tighter ship at the back but its not rocket science or are our players trying to prove themselves stereotypically thick?
After saying all that it is the players themselves who have got us out of the mini slump, it’s a cliché I know but “once over the white line” its all up to them but it was good to have a rant anyway!
At the time of writing, we are in a slump. Things could have changed by the time we meet, but are you surprised by how badly we’ve done (mid Oct-mid Jan)?
Yes a little, Brucie usually gets it all sorted but he might be having the BIG problem that he had at the DW in so much as trying to motivate the squad.
He openly admitted that he struggled to get the players to play consistently with the right attitude.
Also it seems like he has upset a few at The Stadium of Light by all the transfer gossip, you seem to have been linked with every man and his dog, especially over half the current Wigan Athletic squad.
What did you expect for Wigan Athletic at the start of the season, and has your assessment changed?
I didn’t expect wonderful wins against Aston Villa and Chelsea that’s for sure, the thing about us this season is we are consistently inconsistent.
Forty points is the holy grail but I dream of pushing on to a top ten finish on a more regular basis and FA Cup glory would be exquisite.
If we can get a half decent run together then I really can see a 7-8-9th place position and at least a semi final spot in the FA.Cup (Notts County might prove me wrong in the replay)
In which positions will you and Sunderland end up come May?
I can see us both around seventh, eighth ninth etc, comfortable in mid table obscurity, with Wigan Athletic at least one place above you.
Assuming you didn’t write 1, 2, 3 or 4 – and hoping you also avoided 18/19/20, what will be the top four, in order, and also the bottom three?
Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal & Manchester City for the top four in that order, however I’d like to see the Glazer corporation win it as it would upset all the Scousers who I have to work with.
18th – Bolton Wanderers 19th – Hull City 20th – Portsmouth
I would immensely sorry for the Pompey fans who always give 100 per cent to their club, they had a noisy massive support for the last game of the season in a meaningless match at the DW. 10/10
We love your Bernard Ramsdale at Salut! Sunderland after all his outstanding contributions ahead of Wigan Athletic /Sunderland games. Why aren’t there more like him about?
Bows down at the very mention of the esteemed mans name, Bernard is a complete one-off, his in-depth knowledge of Latics is the stuff of legends, his contribution to YOTAC is immense, I’ve got to know him over the last few years ( it seems like a lifetime ) and his loyalty to YOTAC & Latics especially in dire family circumstances is more than exceptional.
His comments on the site are well respected & received at all levels, from the cyber muppets to the national media.
Likes a beer or three and love to chew the fat on football in the local watering holes, occasionally we all get together for a YOTAC board meeting, never a dull moment with the great man.
* The second part of Steve Halliwell’s preview, and a little about him, will appear at Salut! Sunderland tomorrow.