Well, we certainly hope we’re ready for Stoke. Last season, they came to the Stadium of Light after the mauling at Newcastle left Steve Bruce in need of a quick bounceback. He got one, courtesy of two Cashamoah £yan goals and the ref’s poor eyesight. How much more urgent is the need for a win tomorrow? Salut! Sunderland summarises a busy, unhappy (for us) week with plenty, too, to interest Chelsea and Stoke supporters …
The ink had hardly dried on last week’s review of the week before the inkwell was well and truly knocked over. Hours before the kickoff of Sunderland v Chelsea, we were hit with news of the loan deal taking Asamoah Gyan to the United Arab Emirates.
Somehow this turned a match in which I feared we’d struggle into an away banker, even though Gyan would not have played in any case because of injury. It was something to do with what the news told me about the spirit within the camp and, perhaps, the club’s own view of the big picture.
When Pete Sixsmith submitted his matchday account, only the hyperpositive reader could have detected silver lining in the dark, heavy clouds. Too comfortable for Chelsea was Pete’s verdict, and you can click on any of those four words to read the whole article.
And what about Gyan, who not long after this time last week was on his way to becoming Cashamoah in the thoughts of rightly embittered Sunderland supporters?
We took no pleasure in topping the newsnow.co.uk SAFC-related page Top 40 with a piece looking at the detailed assessment of Gary Al-Smith, a specialist on African football and a man who seems to know the player and what makes him tick (well, we all know the £££$$$ last bit now, too). Click here (there’s also an onward link to his original article).
All the talk in the media and online finally prompted a riposte from Niall Quinn, who complained about “all sorts of nonsense” having been written and spoken about Gyan’s departure. It was a strong, fullish statement but left certain questions unanswered and many supporters unconvinced about the club’s handling of a big, big signing who quickly became disillusioned and, so far as we can tell, greedy too.
It is rare when I cannot bring myself to wish a player well at his next club – and, loan or no loan, few of us truly expect or especially want to see the man back in our colours – but it would not remotely displease me to watch his career take a deep dive.
At least, we thought, things can get no worse.
Oh dear. They could.
The FA belatedly hit Phil Bardsley with a violent conduct charge for the stamp on Juan Mata and he is out for four games, the penalty extended because of his poor record even as early in the season as we find ourselves. Get the indiscipline sorted out, Steve.
Over at Salut!, technically the parent site though Salut! Sunderland has many more readers, I offered a tongue-in-cheek welcome to France to Mrs and Mrs Joe Cole, now beginning their sojourn in Lille. I say tongue-in-cheek, and I do know many consider Cole to be overrated, but how we could do with the spark provided by his ability to come up with something unexpected.
There was a quick plug for the bits and pieces Salut! Sunderland is trying its best to encourage you to buy. The mug has been given its own warm welcome by Rob Hutchinson, who was the first to buy one, and Pete Sixsmith, who earned his free of charge by promising to resist all poaching offers from Roker Report. Visit the shop by clicking here.
That left the Stoke City supporter’s preview. Richard Hulme proved a superb interviewee and, though I have only one vote in the matter, potentially an early candidate for the end-of-season awards.
Beyond that lot, there was Steve Bruce’s post-match e-mail (“does he really write to you?” a Chelsea supporter asked), Sixer’s Sevens and we found room for Mark Eltringham’s superb homage to Stephen Foster, the Stoke-supporter and friend of this site who died last year.
And, by the time you see this, there will also have been something Pete was working on about the state of the club. Sounds like that may not be for the squeamish, but check it out by easy navigation of the site. Ands thanks for coming here as often as, collectively, you do.