Salut! Sunderland whinged the other day about the fans who were already, after the surrender of a two-goal lead in the opening game (and, in some case, even before the season started), raising doubts about the quality of our squad.
It hardly excuses us that we at least had the decency to wait until after the second game.
But before we get on to Steve Bruce’s own candid acknowledgement of how bad it was, let us consider the truly worrying aspect of the defeat at the Hawthorns.
Chelsea carried on yesterday where they left off against West Brom, hammering Wigan 6-0 away. After playing us, WBA must be thinking: “Thanks heavens there’s some rubbish in the Premier, too, We must have a chance.”
Fact is this: playing as we did yesterday, we will be on the wrong end of another seven-goal caning by the time go to Stamford Bridge. We will lose easily to Man City next Sunday, and then to Arsenal, Liverpool and – for all we know – Wigan too in September, ending the month bottom. We might even be out of the Carling Cup after losing by the odd goal in five at home to mighty Colchester United.
Now that IS doom-mongering and no, I don’t believe it will all come true.
But we have given ourselves nearly as bad a start as was possible and now have a run of games that can hardly fill us with limitless confidence, though we may indeed beat Colchester on Tuesday night.
As Mike, all the way from the west coast of the America, puts it elsewhere: “Early doors is early doors; we can only base conclusions on what we’ve seen so far. And on what I’ve seen so far, we’re not beating the Mags twice and finishing mid-table. I’d be happy to hear any opinions to the contrary; maybe I’ve missed something.”
At least Steve Bruce knows it, too. He must also know that the patience of Sunderland supporters and, rather more importantly to his own future, Ellis Short and Niall Quinn, is finite.
This is what he tells me – no claims to special favours; I just happen to be among those on the club mailing list, in honour either of my season ticket or my sub to SAFC TV – in his customary “Dear Colin” note:
“Our first-half performance in particular was way, way short of what’s required if I’m being honest. We were much better second half and were probably having our best spell of the game when we conceded the goal.
The goal summed us up really. We were sloppy and weren’t doing our jobs properly. The centre forward got in between the centre halves again – that happened early in the first half, too.
We switched off and got punished when we were having our best spell. We looked as if we were in control. Unfortunately we shot ourselves in the foot. If I’m being honest, there were no positives to take.”
So we can take it, Mr Bruce, that you’ll be busy before the transfer deadline is reached. In our humble view, you certainly need to be.