37 years on from a tight draw at Meadow Lane, Sunderland show that they have learned nothing from the past and turn in a display that has Pete Sixsmith shaking his head in wonderment at such an embarrassing performance
So, the idea of symmetry with the teaching career goes out of the bloody window at the first stage.
What an absolutely shocking performance our players turned in yesterday. I won’t use the word “team” in this, because we played nothing like one. It was a collection of individuals pretending to be a unified group in red and white stripes, nothing more.
Our opponents, a decent third level team, stuck to their task well. They were organised, efficient and well drilled. This proved to be far too much for the assembled red and white superstars, who played as if they were up against some wonder team from the upper echelons of La Liga rather than a mid table Division One team.
As I drove across an empty Wearmouth Bridge towards an empty Stadium of Light, I heard the line up and thought, “Hmm, one or two will be keen to show the manager and the assembled fans that they are good enough to play regularly. This makes me look forward to an afternoon of high tempo football and lots of goals whizzing past the Pies goalkeeper”.
How wrong could I be? Quite a lot as it happened. Our “squad” players made it clear that the only squad that applied to them was one they should be stood in front of.Riveros did well in the World Cup. To produce such an antithesis to this performance in the FA Cup took some doing. He looked bemused by the pace of the game and the determination of the Notts players not to allow him to do what he wanted. His career as a Sunderland player is surely ending before it has begun.
The same may well apply to Jack Colback, who has made it clear that he is not particularly interested in being at the club. The 55 minutes he lasted were excruciating to watch as he turned backwards at every opportunity and rarely played a ball forward. He must be hoping that Roy Keane gets fixed up as soon as possible so he can join him.
Andy Reid looked as if he has kept the restaurateurs of Sheffield in business during his loan spell there. He had an absolute shocker, being regularly caught in possession and firing in shots from 35 yards into the sparsely populated North Stand; another one who will not be seen in a SAFC shirt again.
Marcos Angeleri gave a wonderfully comic performance at right back, falling over, hoofing the ball in the air like a third rate rugby union fly half; another short Sunderland career for this mega flop.
Any positives to take from this? No.
As for County, they did well but their players must have been talking all the way back down the motorway about how utterly useless, spineless and brainless their Premier League opponents had been.
The mood of doom and gloom at Sixsmith Towers, already exacerbated by news of Shildon’s 2-0 defeat to Coalville Town in the FA Vase, was lifted a little by news from Stevenage and by reports of Neil Warnock likening EL Hadj-Diouf to a sewer rat. Unfair, as sewer rats act the way they do from instinct, while Diouf makes a choice to act as a complete and utter t***.
So, FA Cup out of the way for another season and a derby to look forward to on Sunday, followed by a tough set of fixtures. Meyler, Cattermole, Welbeck, Onuoha, Turner, Mensah and Campbell out and some players from yesterday clearly not good enough to play. It could be an interesting team selection for Messrs Bruce and Black.