Defeat at Manchester United: ‘not the whitewash I feared’

As he tends to do after every game, Ian Porter from the Blackcats list has come up with an astute summary of the positives and negatives of yesterday’s 1-0 defeat …

Tomorrow: Pete Sixsmith’s Old Trafford verdict …

Well, this wasn’t the total whitewash I was anticipating.

It was what I’d hoped for though, which was to give a good account of ourselves. I don’t think we were playing ManUre at their best, but that shouldn’t detract from what was a very good team performance.

We were on the defensive for long periods, but we closed down well and Westwood wasn’t troubled that often. Equally though, we created a couple of chances ourselves to score.

Westwood pulled off the nearest I’ve seen since Monty’s save in ’73. I was really pleased by Westwood’s performance. I think the writing’s on the wall for Craig Gordon, but I think if he isn’t offered a new deal in January, he can leave on a free ? TBH, I think whatever he’s offered, he’ll turn it down and leave anyway, so we’ll lose out on a couple of million I guess.

Whilst I think Turner will always be too slow for this league, he seems to be striking up a good partnership with Brown and wasn’t exposed yesterday I think. Rico again played well at full back and showed again that he’s incapable of passing a ball to a team mate, but did get a couple of crosses in. He’s kept Nani and Walcott quite in recent games & he deserves credit for that.

It seemed that our midfield was non-existent for long periods, but whilst they may not have been seeing much of the ball, they were working extremely hard closing down fast. I think Cattermole played a big part in getting what “success” we did have.

Colback too, he was chasing shadows a bit at first, but came into the game more as time went on. Larsson made his usual set-piece contributions, and worked hard getting back to defend. Biggest disappointment and our worst player on the day was Sess. Too easily knocked off the ball when he did get it and persisting in attempting stupid 35 yd attempts. Most of the time though, the game just passed him by out wide, because we were playing narrow.

Wickham’s game was over as quickly as it started. I hope the lad makes a speedy recovery and doesn’t require surgery. I was impressed again by Ji’s workrate and how comfortable he is in possession.

Bendtner worked hard, held the ball up well and had a good chance to score late on. I’m not sure whether he was getting impeded.

Even the subs did OK. I hate to say it, but Elmo made a (positive!) difference and Meyler looked more comfortable than he did last week, and even had a shot at goal.

SAF spoke highly of our performance and said he thought we had a very good team developing there.

In certain quarters, people are saying we’re going on a relatively easy run now for the rest of the year. Personally, I don’t see it that way, even the likes of Wigan, at times seem to play better than we are, QPR are playing some good stuff at home especially and Blackburn are fighting for their lives.

I’m reasonably upbeat after yesterday’s performance, and I really think we are starting to gel, I just hope we don’t fall flat on our faces against Fulham, where we’ll be without Larsson and I’d fully expect SB to replace with Elmo…. I’d really like to see McClean play left and Sess move right though.

57 thoughts on “Defeat at Manchester United: ‘not the whitewash I feared’”

  1. Ha!

    It is obviously connected to how strongly they feel about the club, and that I understand, but Stevie’s head, feet and arms go into the stocks at the first inkling of under-performance, and as was the case last year, extenuating circumstances were ruthlessly ignored and the manager became the subject of an unbelievable torrent of abuse. Hand-on-heart I simply question this logic and it’s benefits?

    It seems that because we’re not achieving what some fans dictate we should be achieving, all sense of reason goes out the window when things go “boobs-up”. Surely we can be better than that? He’s buying some decent players.

    I genuinely believe in the case of Bruce we should be patient . . . . (within reason!) This despite my momentary loss of faith. I have returned to the “let’s wait and see” philosophy after some encouraging displays, and I feel so sorry for him after all he’s taken. You can see how much it gets to him by the look on his face. It’s merciless!

    You can be on mine if I can be on yours!! FYI my Mrs hates “candy” but loves Yorkshire puds – although her’s always turn out like biscuits!

  2. Martin,

    Maybe you just need a rest, I was looking at the Sunderland Echo site and its the same arguments there, except they allow a bit more crudity than people express here. And your right some of this has been very down and I thnik its a reflection of how strongly people feel about the Club, sometimes emotions get the better of folk and they maybe do not display their best side.

    Anyway, we still have a ‘humble pie’ bet to be determined at the season end, your not going to dissapoint me are you cos I hope you still win?

    PS Am I still on the Christmas Card List?

  3. Me too.

    During my brief lack of faith, I said that “I hope I am wrong”. Truthfully, I don’t know if I was, but I see signs of improvement on the pitch. We are slowly evolving. Slowly because of departures and injuries.

    I am referring to the obsessive and aggressive. The closed-minded and the blind. Stuck with their perceptions and doggedly negative no matter what. Last years criticism was bordering on the insane considering the sheer pap we’ve had to watch over the years. I was stoked then and I’m stoked now!

    At the end of things, all I want is to see my team do well and to compete in the way our fans deserve. With Steve Bruce we’ve seen that and apart from Reid – who else has provided that in recent times?

    Your obviously not a bad sort, and you present a decent argument, but I genuinely feel that lots of posts are over-the-top and down – right uncalled for.

    That’s it from me – I know you’re gonna miss me!

  4. Agree with Chatnoir_safc about Westwood, but would like to regain some cash on Gordon.

    Martin, all well and good to adjust your opinion, no weakness in that, but again its a bit rich to blame those who still think SB aint the man when you up until very recently was wan of them (excuse the vernacular.

    We still at this current moment in time have two wins out of twelve, our last game was a loss, bit early for me to see the shoots of a new spring.

    Next three will be telling, and I seriously hope we win all three or at least two.

  5. Copy that – I did turn on him because of the step backwards. But now they’re gelling and improving, it’s time to be patient again and give him a chance. I do understand and expected this to be shoved in my face – maybe with some justification. But I express how I feel at the time. Early season we were terrible and our play and skill level had dipped. There was nothing up front, and we were being asked to wait until the new boys settled in. I wasn’t impressed with what I saw, but now I see signs of definite improvement, and I think that deserves some recognition, and a change of attitude. Say what you see CSB – say what you see sir.

  6. “Westwood pulled off the nearest I’ve seen since Monty’s save in ’73. I was really pleased by Westwood’s performance. I think the writing’s on the wall for Craig Gordon, but I think if he isn’t offered a new deal in January, he can leave on a free ? TBH, I think whatever he’s offered, he’ll turn it down and leave anyway, so we’ll lose out on a couple of million I guess.”

    When we signed Westwood I thought that would be the end of Flash Gordon at Sunderland. He is a good keeper, but his injury record makes him a liability. I feel sorry for him, as he’s likely lost out on the Scotland number one spot to Ally MacGregor, but I do find it strange that he can’t make it through a season without an injury problem (not counting the broken arm, of course). I mean, it’s not as though keepers are as active as their outfield counterparts. But I do of course wish him the best, and I’d love to see him at Parkhead!

    From I’ve seen of Westwood in pre-season, at Brighton and these last two matches I’ve been really impressed. Can’t imagine why he had to drop all the way down to (then) non-league Carlisle to play, but he’s here now and doing brilliantly. It’ll be interesting to see if Mig regains his place right away, or if he’ll have to fight for it.

  7. Martin,

    I am going on a sabitical to the deserts of Saudi Arabia, the optimist bit was a joke. I was trying to introduce a bit of levity in to a no win situation. And, as I think I have been at pains to point out, yes the optimists do quite obviously and apparently have an opinion and are more than welcome to make theirs known.

    Even you were beginning to turn on SB a few matches ago, but now your saying he has not had enough of a chance, does not add up Martin. Consistency is king.

  8. That’s how it’s turning out.

    You were taking a sabatacle because of the optimists? Do they not have an opinion too?

    I haven’t been reading many posts recently, but the Bruce bashing has been tedious ever since our Jan to May slump. It’s depressingly negative and the bloke hasn’t been given enough of a chance in the circumstances.

  9. Martin,

    Your last post came up just as I submitted my last, although second last one to you.

    If you analyse what you are saying you have turned it in to a ‘if they are not for us, they are against us’ scenario. This is football, an opinioned based topic, it can’t possibly be (and I hate my self for this using this phraes) a simple black or white choice.

    I have never considered the debate to be one sided on this site and I think you will find that the number of posts are fairly equal (Salutsunderland could you confirm). additionally I have always thought that the editorials have been more in favour of SB than against him, but may be I am using selective recall here.

  10. Martin,

    If I can’t use the ‘Janary to May argument’ then its a little rich you using the ‘August to December’ one. As for rebuilding the team, who appointed all the loanees in the first place and then promoted them to the basis of first teamers.

    So that leaves us with SB’s performance for the first 12 games this season. The results are relegation material as simple as that.

    The next three are crucial and I will be behind the team (and by default SB) to win all three. If he gets three similiar performances like the Man Utd game, excepting that we actually get on the score sheet (other than OG’s) then you of the optimistic persuasion may have a point in claiming that things are improving

    Lets wait and see.

  11. That’s right Bill – I have more about me than that. I am responding to CSB and partaking in my final debate. This is a highly passionate topic, and one that would be best put to bed.

    FYI though Bill – and this is how nauseatingly predictable you are, I totally knew that’s what you were going to say.

    You have nothing productive to add – EVER. And for the record, most of my posts have generally promoted healthy and substantial debate, and even if I say it myself, I think this site will miss that bit of balance that it so desperately needs. If Colin was honest he would agree with that.

    This site is becoming a one trick pony due to doubters and pessimists like yourself. Cauldron of negativity was a genius synopsis, and it hit home because of it’s validity.

    I think it’s crazy to tout the “pessimists V optimists” scenario you guys are posting about. It’s a little immature to publicly attempt to recruit more stable-ites in an attempt to scourge yourselves of anyone daring to carry the banner of optimism. Let’s out the “poistivos” and join forces. Out with the pitch forks – let’s run them out of town. Oh Dear!!

    It’s not our intention to appall you. It’s an attempt to inject a little balance into a increasingly one-sided debate.

    Too long for you Bill? . . . . . GOOD

  12. What evidence CSB? We were at 6th half way through last season – then came the injuries, Darren Bent slung his hook (totally against the wishes and judgement of SB) I acknowledge that the start of the season was woeful but a lot of it has been circumstancial.

    After finishing a more than respectable 10th given the depleted nature of the squad, the loanees departed as well as other outgoings. He had to start from scratch again man. He built the nuts and bolts of a decent team although I totally agree with you about lack of cutting edge. But I believe this will be rectified.

    Pessimistic middle is a little loftier than “no positives exist” – so maybe as has happened to myself in the past, your perspectives might change. Better performances and results might swing your pendulum and maybe SB will be pardoned.

    Yes – Man U were a shadow of their best, but I was pleased not with the result, but the application, defence, and some of the passing and movement that they didn’t seem remotely capable of early season. It wasn’t that they didn’t give it their best shot, otherwise your complaints would have been justified. It was a step forward performance wise, and we showed no signs of being overawed by the occasion as was the case with so many of our teams. This is a mentality that Bruce instills. You have to acknowledge the good with the bad. Tactically he’s been found out a few times, but he’s learning about his new team. You can’t quote Chelsea away – that was a completely different team.

    His “unwarranted attach on fans” – how would you react when people are screaming hysterically “Cu*t, Fat-head, useless w*nker” at you based on our loss to Newcastle! In the face of extreme adversity I believe he has reacted like a gentleman, with courage, integrity and determination.

    Thank you for your last paragraph. Similarly, although I don’t agree with most of your points, at least you present them respectfully and articulately if not a little robustly!

    Bill oh Bill. Newcastle, as much as it pains me do have a better roster of players. Pardew inherited an already decent, balanced squad. SB inherited pants. Pardew’s purchases especially in attack have transpired to be a little more shrewd than those of SB. Demba Ba, the French midfield players etc etc. But let’s see where they are at the end. Steve Bruce had us flying in his first few months. But let’s see how they cope if 12 of their players get injured shall we?

    You have NEVER given him a chance apart from when we were 6th and you were eating your words. Your one-line scathing attacks on him are exactly what I’m against. It’s 4 year old stuff.

    It will never happen, but patience is key here. We have a decent backbone, it just needs tweeking and supplementing a little.

    Over and out.

  13. Martin writes: “IT TAKES TIME. Several years ago we were in the Championship.”
    Newcastle were in the Championship in 2010. In 2011, they’re third in the Premiership. It hasn’t taken them much time. So what do they have that we don’t have? Certainly not a better roster of players. Could it be their manager who’s made the difference?

  14. Martin,

    A good post even if I do not neccesarily agree with all you say.

    What you perceive as this great tide of negativity is a simple physics law of the universe for every action there is an equal counter action. The more optimistic one the more pessimistic the other, somewhere in the middle will the balance lie. It is still my affirmed belief that the balance, based upon the evidence and not misguided loyalty, is that we are nearer a pessimitic middle. It is a fluid relationship ebbing one way and then the other. Its also all about opinions and everybodies opinion should carry as much weight as the next mans (womans etc).

    Contray to earlier posts I do not try to shout down those opinions but simple repeat the same questions, where is the evidence to support what you are saying. For example, we lost at Man Utd in a game where they were there for the taking. That occurance happens rarely so why did we not grab the opportunity, we know we are capable of doing it just look at Chelsea away. We had passages where we played half decent but with no cutting edge. To me this sums up our current state, no cutting edge, which has been a problem since last January and a midfield bereft of creativity, also been a long term problem.

    But lo and behold suddenly we have gushings of how we have improved, how only losing 1-0 was a moral victory. Last season from January to May was a nightmare, and despite finishing 10th we flirted dangerously with relegation. This season we are displaying a similar patch in terms of points gained, even if overall performance has improved in certain games. These problems are not new and we still do not appear to be any nearer solving them. From last January to November is some ‘blip’, in fact its a blip that has grown in to a bloody big smudge.

    I can’t abide people who are anti-Bruce because he’s a Geordie, fat, ex man Utd etc and all other stupid reasons adopted, but if they are calling in to question his management record at Sunderland, his unwarrented attack on fans then I say let them have their say. I can not remember another manager of Sunderland who has so divided the support as Bruce appears to have done. Not accusing SB of anything here, but the supporters do appear to have strong opinions about him.

    In essence your third last paragraph basically sums up my position, but from the other side of the fence because I have not seen a defence of Mr Bruce that is not bases upon an optimistic hope for the future and little fact. Maybe the site should have a for and against pair of articles so that the case for the defence and the prosecution can be made Alla Je Accuse (french is not a strong point of mine, actually its not even a point) mode to put this to bed for the remainder of the season leaving the post match blogs to discuss performance and tactics only
    ( also funny stories,etc).

    I say this because you have as much right to post here as anybody and are as passionate about Sunderland as I hope we all are. At the end of the day we all want the same things for the Club and we should not allow this never ending argument to put people off coming to the site or posting comments upon the site (Colin do I get paid for this?).

  15. Chatnoir – I agree with a lot of what you say – but I think CSB is right – (partly because of his amusing bridesmaids analogy!) we should not be settling for mid-table mediocrity. We have massively under-achieved for years. We have the infrastructure, a splendid stadium, a huge fan-base, the best training facilities. And now we have financial clout, and a successful owner. We have Niall and Miliband promoting international affairs. We’re now way ahead of the game in relation to marketing and commercial incentives, as well as legal and financial ones. There is absolutely no reason why our splendid fans shouldn’t dream about a better future. Settling for mid-table mediocrity is a cop-out, whether you’re a fan, or someone involved in running the club.

    The point is CSB – and this is what I believe you and your couter-parts are missing. IT TAKES TIME. Several years ago we were in the Championship. I share your frustration in terms of under-performance. We always seem to get our hopes built up, only to have them unceremoniously battered down again – and that’s a crushing feeling. But to say that “no positives exist” is sensationally unfair. Since SB came to us he has bought the likes of: Cana, Bent, Gyan, Sessegnon, Muntari, Welbeck, Larsson, Wickham, Brown, O’Shea. All of these players are a remarkable step forward compared to the dross we’re accustomed to.
    Since his arrival we have actually competed against the top teams and have beaten Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea away, Man City and almost every time have given a great account of ourselves. We don’t come out waving the white flag any more – and I love that.

    Another positive is that we DO have the nucleus of a decent squad and with quality additions (Adam Johnson), we will get better, but once again. It takes time. Good players want to come and play for Steve Bruce and people inside the game respect and rate him as a manager. People with a lot more knowledge than you or I.

    At the start of the season, it seemed that we had taken a huge step backwards, and I was sick to the stomach. I became almost as impetuous as some of you, and I questioned Bruces position. But I am witnessing a brand new team starting to perform well above the level I was anticipating for the rest of the season. Hence – I think the team deserve a chance and some support – the kind of support for which we are renowned.

    The amount of shameful abuse, hatred and animosity Steve has had to face when at the end of the day he’s doing his best to give us what we want, ought to make us reflect on ourselves. Some “fans” are behaving like neanderthals and I am ashamed to be associated with them.

    Like Davey says above – try to recall the days of (the players he lists) – would you welcome a return to those days? Surely not?

    Club-wise, the way forward is to change the mentality of settling for the money when we have players to take us forward. Selling Bent and Henderson to maximize profits sends a message to the rest of the league that we’re not in it to win it. To build on our solid foundations, we have to promote the mentality that this is not a selling club. It is a big club with ambition and when we buy players like Wickham, we do so with the intention of keeping him and not selling him to the first big club that puts in an offer.

    We’re not an elite club, but I believe by changing mentality , we could become one. Why not?

    As for Steve Bruce, I am so tired of all the hate, bullying and negativity. Even the most intellectual defence goes unnoticed and ignored. It’s like flogging a dead horse. I am not throwing my teds, but I simply don’t want to be associated with inflated, premature criticism that so often dominates the posts on this site. It’s like deja Vu times a million.

    As fans we are inextricably linked to the club. There’s fans like Davey who sees the bottle as half full. This is his mentality. If we collectively demonstrated this ethos, and continued to show faith and support both in and out of the stadium, through the good times and the bad, the bad times would diminish and the players would perform at or close to their best.

    But this is never going to happen. Since I have been posting here I realize that fans with a positive mentality, objective in their assessments are in the minority. Far more prevalent are the negatorians, who at the very first sign of a blip weald their axes unmercifully. Frankly, no longer do I want to be associated with the spite and petulance.

  16. “You have just gone down in my estimation if you truley [sic] believe this.”

    Where do you think we ought to be finishing? Were you really that unhappy with 10th?

    The Big Four have expanded into the Sexy Six, and they seem to have a wrought-iron grip on the top of the table. IMHO it would take a lot to upend any of those clubs; more than simply changing our manager.

  17. Actually I am just off to remote foreign shores where their aint no internet so I can’t get the games or make comment.

    It does serve as a neat hiatus for the future of SB and the club to be decided, then we will know one way or the other who was right.

    Martin I am sorry you have seen this as a relentless attack on SB but when people try to put a positive spin on events(excluding some half decent individual performances) that have clearly not beneffited the club I quite frankly find it incredulous (i.e. losing to Man Utd) and seriously begin to question the mentality of some of the support.Mid to low table mediocracy, is this what we really want, that taking part is enough, but never to excell, brides maids but never the bride.

    I have always tried to be objective in my criticism of SB, I was not happy with his appointment, but was ready to be swayed that he was the right man for the job. He has not persuaded me and the fact that we still underperform even with better players to my mind only underlines his failings.

    I would love for him to turn things around and between now and the end of the season we climb the league, every game I watch either at the Sol on by other means I am willing us to win. However I am a realist and know in my heart of hearts based upon all the evidence that this is not going happen. Its harder to face up to reality than desperately try to find positives where none exist.

  18. Well if that’s a goodbye, then thankyou Martin and goodnight.

    Your posts exhaust me. It’s certainly time for a rest.

  19. No BB – Assumption is futile with your limitations. I had some time to kill so I thought I would amuse myself by irritating Negative United. Allow me to explain to the less cerebral amongst you. I was commenting on progression in terms of performance – not results. If we continue to improve results will follow. Do you understand now, or do you want me to tutor you some more.

    CSB – You’re exhausted by trying to reason are you? Your NINE lengthy posts in one thread seem to rebut your statement somewhat. It’s good to see you stroking BB’s ego by piggybacking his “positivo” semantic. You’re giving him what he wants, and no doubt he’ll be mopping his drool at the thought of it “latching on”.

    You’re throwing your teddies out of your pram and taking a sabatical from Salut, because of optimism??????? I weap for you! That very statement speaks volumes about you, and reinforces mine and others sentiments about you that you are unable to discriminate, and unwilling to say or accept anything remotely positive. You force your point home almost to the point of obsession. Nobody elses perceptions are welcome or relevant in your book. And if someone tries you dominate away don’t you?

    I am still not convinced about our manager tactically, but he has bought some players way above our usual standard. “Say what you see” should be the motto – but you are trapped in the cauldron unwilling and incapable of coming out.

    Ian Dury also wrote another song . . . the “B” side of Hit me with your Rhythm stick. I’m sure Steve Bruce and SAF would agree that you two – and the enigmatic Les Blues fan would adequately represent the title of that song. Google it.

    Anyway – I’m done too. I simply don’t want to associate myself with dooms-dayers who consistently spit their poison, no matter what. As is the case in life – “Mysery needs company” – and you lot congregate in a huddle, bounce off each other, and the negativity grows fatter and fatter, and those who dare to contest your nagging are repelled by a magnetic field of contempt. Not even the most salient of points can prick your consciense. I find you genuinely lamentable. I kind of suss that I’m not quite welcome any more after some exuberant comments, but like I said, most of it was in jest, while trying to get across some valid points.

    Before I leave you guys for the last time, here’s a poser for you: If Ellis Short, Niall and the board have decided to back Steve Bruce in the short term and financially, what possible good do you think you’re doing by relentlessly putting him down, and publicly shouting from the rooftops? If he does start to pull things around, and get the team playing, surely our progression would materialize sooner if we all supported him. The way the team are playing now indicates that we COULD be on the right tracks, despite early season disasters. But no – you two are trapped under the ice.

    Thank you Colin – I have very much enjoyed contributing to Salut. There have been some cracking debates here and I loved being involved. All the best to you and Pete.

    Davey – don’t waste your breath mate. It’s a useless excercise.

    Ha’way the lads.

  20. CSB; please do not abandon these shores and leave us at the mercy of the Positivos.

    Martin has reappeared in the wake of what he sees is progress in the form of a defeat without us scoring a goal. I almost fear the consequences for both him and Davey if we should ever manage so much as a 2-0 win in the coming weeks, as their reaction would surely provide a most rigorous test for the medical resources of both Peterlee and Vancouver.

    I blame Ian Dury for that hit of his. “Reasons to be………… ridiculously optimistic” How did it go…………………??

  21. Martin,

    Your opening statement led me to believe that you thought I was making direct refrence to your good self

    Your recollection of insults and events is an extremeny sanitised one but I suspect it serves your own ends. Good to see you have crossed over to the ‘Positivos’ as I recall from your earlier posts you had finally come round to recognising the limitations of our current manager.

    Never mind I have stuck to my original analysis of the situation based upon common sense and facts, and am afraid SB still has to go.

    I do agree with you regarding the requirement for more humor but I am quite frankly exhausted with and have exhausted my reasoning for the the arguments surrounding SB. Some agree, some disagree neither camp will change its mind so lets just allow history to take its course.

    Chatnoir-safc posted:

    I guess I am okay with mid-table mediocrity.

    You have just gone down in my estimation if you truley believe this.

    Like Martin has, I am about to take a sabatical from Salut due to a surfit of Optimisim which is in complete contrast to the facts, prospects and the position we will finish in this season.

  22. Sorry to put more coals under the “cauldron of negativity” folks but we lost against a really poor Man Utd side that were as jittery as a new born kitten at times. Did we score, no.

    Where are the positives exactly? Wickham got carried off after about 90 seconds as well.

    I must be missing something here. League table anyone? How many games played……………….?

    Hello all you “cauldron stirrers.” You haven’t joined these happy clappy positivos. That’s what I’m going to call the optimists from now on. You heard it here first folks, The Positivos.

  23. “If mid to lower table mediocracy is what you want then just keep verbally supporting Bruce, because he is not equipped to supply anything else. I wish I was wrong, but thats the stark reality of our situation.”

    I guess I am okay with mid-table mediocrity.

    Relegation wasn’t fun, and we spent most of this century battling back into the Premier League. Perhaps it does show a lack of ambition, but I’m just looking for safety now. Still.

    I was so proud of us last autumn, so hugely proud, when we were in the top half and appeared to be an early challenger for a Europa League place (bit funny to think now that it was us and Bolton battling for 6th just about a year ago, considering where we both lay now!). But in many ways I felt we weren’t ready for Europe.

    Sometimes the glories of the Reid era seem so long ago.

  24. You “don’t care where I’ve been” – oh dear. I was talking about our club – not once did I become personal. I’m so hurt now. I have tears in my cornflakes.

    Apart from one occasion, the name-calling (usually oaf or fool) wasn’t intended to be taken offensively. I have repeatedly said – don’t take me seriously. CSB – come on son. I expect difference of opinions, but as I have said SO many times, a lot of the criticism has been premature and unjustifiable. You are continuing to lambaste Bruce when there are some positive signs, and that’s not reasonable. After Norwich – sure – I was equally as adamant that it wasn’t good enough, and the effort levels were appalling. But I would encourage you to stifle your unprecedented malice towards the coach, put your (many) prejudices to bed, and think more positively. You never know – you might even enjoy it.

    I know I am an extremely hated guy on this site – but when I have an opinion it comes from the heart, especially when I’m debating the club I am unfortunately addicted to. But my opinion is my opinion – it doesn’t make me right. Same goes for you.

    I don’t know if SB is the right man for the job. All I know is this: He’s bought better quality players than I have ever seen at SAFC. Even in this team we have some really good talent. You can’t question his ambition – Bent/Gyan/Henderson apart but that was out of his hands.

    Ever since we had that atrocious luck with injuries last season, the knives have been out, and for the life of me – I don’t understand it. To me the premature intolerance and impatient whining is fundamentally wrong, and that is something I feel from within. It has nothing to do with the fact that your opinion differs to mine!!

    Anyway – can I have your address – I would like to send you a Christmas Card and some Newberry Fruits for your Mrs.

  25. Martin posted:

    CSB – I myself have been absent because sometimes the vast majority of posts are negative to the extreme and after a while, the appeal of this site i.e. healthy and humorous debate is overshadowed by an unhealthy array of complaining, spite and even hatred

    Martin do not care where you have been and nothing I have posted was alluring to you, additionally a lot of the humor etc was killed off by your persistent name calling and derogetery comments regarding any opinions expressed that did not coincide with your own.

    Martin also posted:

    CSB – Even Fergie said Sunderland played well, and they have the makings of a great team. Sorry mate – but his comments hold slightly more weight than yours.

    Martin can you recall one instant where SAF has actually said an opposition team were shite, no neither can I. Additionally SAF would say that wouldn’t he as it makes their below par performance acceptable if the opposition played well. Steve Bruce and Fergie are ‘ as thick as thieves’ so any comments about the makings of a great team should be taken with a large pinch of salt as SAF clearly knows the pressure Bruce is under.

    Its called reading between the lines Martin.

  26. Chatnoir_safc,

    I actually gave you a thums up for optimism. However there are several issues in your post that are a little hard to come to terms with.

    I certainly noticed that if you are not pro Bruce (and god knows how anybody could be after the drivel he has persistently served us with) then some how you are a ‘cauldren of hate/ negativity’, this is a very negative way to try to represent people who are expressing a genuine concern for the way the club is going right now. You are not the only person to use such emotive expressions as the powers that be on this same blog have also done so in the past. I recognise that you may only be using this phrase in direct relationship to your own unpleasant experience, but others have adopted it as a form of insult/ derogatory labelling of anybody who points out that Bruce’s record at Sunderland is deplorable. Davey is very fond of quoting selective statistics in support of his weak argument for supporting Bruce, come what may. But if you do a very quick analysis of Mr Bruce’s tenure as manager in it’s entirety then the points tally, goals for/ against etc show a very interesting pattern of complete and absolute mediocracy. Yes there have been highs but by god there have been a lot of lows – just check our cup performances and performances against our neighbours.

    I also get the impression that if you speak out against SB you are regarded as some how being disloyal to the club, that blind faith should prevail and that the powers that be no best. I thought this went out in the medieval period (empowerment of the peasants, education etc). Its not disloyalty and in fact could quite possibly be the highest expression of loyalty, by recognising failures and making them known.

    I wholly endorse your view that at games the support should be 100% behind the team, but football is an emotional game and people get carried away for the 90 minutes in a death and life struggle for three points.

    I take your point that we are dealing with entirely different teams, teams that Davey appears to think are superior to what we had before, on paper he may be right but our performances and statitics are no better than previous. Bruce has spent a lot, and Davey I don’t give two figs about how much he has brought in balancing the books is financially great but I would rather see SB concentrate on the playing of football to a competent level, introducing a little daring and flair, dare I say it entertainment. But no we get a plodding, agricultural approach where not getting beat is comparable with winning. In some games this is a viable approach, unfortunatley SB tries it in virtually every game. This smacks of a tactical vaccum as far as he goes. Likewise his inability to affect change during a game either by a change in tactics or introducing effective subsitutions.

    All of this is nothing new, SB’s career at the SOL has adequately displayed all these attributes. But additionally annoying is his tendency to blame all and sundry for the teams failings where the real blame lies much much closer to home. Yes we have had a very big change in playing staff, but the performances and tactics remain the same, poor, very very poor.

    Bruce is quite clearly out of his depth at a club that is ambitious as he is not of sufficiently high calibre to be able to formulate attractive football regardless of who the playing staff are. He simply does not have it and it is a simple as that. Being able to recognise this is worse than being a supposedly ‘loyal’ supporter who just keeps hoping that the next game will see a change in fortunes. He will win us games, maybe another Chelsea away performance, but it will be the exception and not the rule.

    If mid to lower table mediocracy is what you want then just keep verbally supporting Bruce, because he is not equipped to supply anything else. I wish I was wrong, but thats the stark reality of our situation.

  27. Really really excellent post by Chatnoir. CSB – I myself have been absent because sometimes the vast majority of posts are negative to the extreme and after a while, the appeal of this site i.e. healthy and humorous debate is overshadowed by an unhealthy array of complaining, spite and even hatred. Colin – you do a great job, and I know this is your baby. But it really is (a lot of the time but not always) a cauldron of negativity. That becomes off-putting to Sunderland supporters who are able to differentiate between era’s of apalling potential, compared with the potential of today. It’s heart warming to read objective posts by the likes of Hilary, Chatnoir and especially the ever-optimistic Davey. I still read match day reports by the extremely talented, discerning and objective Pete Sixsmith, but a lot of the of the posts are pants.

    Steve Bruce bought a new team, and their first few games were “dysfunctional” and partly due to the feelings of familiarity, I sensed a relegation battle and was confused by some of Bruce’s tactics, and his failure to buy a proven striker. Therefore I questioned his position and wondered if he should be replaced. However, I believe we should “say what we see”. Man U weren’t on top form – but it’s almost the same team that trounced Arsenal 8-2, and we took the game to them. We were unlucky not to get the equalizer, and once again – how many times over the years can you say that we competed against top teams! Did you see SB bollock Kieran when he hoofed the ball up the pitch . . . that’s the mentality he seems to be trying to instill. Try to play the game and have a go – no matter who we are playing. That’s what I want, and under him (mostly) it’s what we get.

    The Premiership is the best it’s ever been, and Davey’s right – apart from maybe Man City, and Man U, no team’s supporters should expect back to back wins. We’ve got money to spend, but so have most clubs, therefore competition is fierce, and teams are very evenly matched.

    The Villa game worried me a bit, because of the huge holes in midfield, like the one that led to Petrov’s goal. But Saturday’s performance was gritty, we were defensively sound, the passing was very good, and we had lots of possession. It’s obvious now that we’re starting to gel, and the prospects for the season are better than we first thought.

    CSB – Even Fergie said Sunderland played well, and they have the makings of a great team. Sorry mate – but his comments hold slightly more weight than yours.

    SB has bought a decent team – one that didn’t hit the ground running. But there a signs of big improvements and we should support, not berate that.

  28. Well that’s me told . i’m off home tonight to watch videos of the greats Gary Breen , Neil Collins , Kevin Kyle , Anthony le Tallec , Tommy Miller , Jonathon Stead , Alan Stubbs et all .
    Oh happy days – pre Bruce

  29. (Probably a bad idea to stick my head in the lion’s mouth; here goes nothing…)

    The cauldron of hate does seem to be dissipating. Whilst we may not have gotten the results we wanted, our performances over the last few weeks have been solid. And of course the object of each match is to win, is to collect three points, sometimes you have to take heart from a good performance. At Bolton, against Villa and at Manchester United, the crowd were firmly behind the lads and firmly behind the manager from start to finish.

    Part of this may be down to the performances. Then again, part of it may be down to not wanting to spend two hours in a cauldron of hate.

    I don’t know if you were at the Norwich match, but it was an awful situation. Our punters were getting annoyed with the players and livid with the manager. I’ve never heard the ‘c’ word that many times in my life. Some of our lot were screaming frankly ASBO-worthy things at Bruce; then others were screaming at the screamers to shut up; and it nearly descended into a scuffle at one point. As a woman, I was starting to seriously worry about the possibility of being hit by a stray punch.

    I guess the point is that I’m sure loads of supporters are still unhappy with the club, but have realised that spending an afternoon or an evening locked in an eternal screaming match with a man fifty yards away who cannot actually hear what they’re screaming, isn’t the healthiest way to live.

    And I recognise that many are disappointed with our position in the table (in the table? on the table? hmm…) but our performances have improved, and we will start to string together positive results.

    The successes of our neighbours have, for some reason, really gotten a number of our lot riled up. I can’t think why a Sunderland supporter needs to be so concerned with Newcastle (derby day excluded) but their unbeaten start is just too potent to ignore for some in our fanbase. I’ll be interested to see if some of the ‘Bruce out’ lot don’t have a sudden change of focus when the Mags hit their blip and go on a losing run.

    In terms of replacing Darren Bent, that is a huge task– it’s not as though 20-goals-a-season strikers are easy to come by. We will have to spend big, and I’m sure Mr Short would like to ensure that the man he spends £15m-£20m on won’t be a dud when he arrives. Let’s face it, for all his talent (and his price tag), Gyan didn’t quite fit in here. He was never really able to replicate the form he shows for Ghana, for us. And it’s worth remembering that the £24m we got for Bent is paid in instalments (ditto the £18m-ish we got for Hendo)– it’s not as though there’s a pile of cash somewhere in the AoL accruing dust. Bent’s departure wasn’t at all helpful to us, but we did have some serious problems even when he was in the squad: think back to December 2009-March 2010 when we couldn’t buy a goal, even with Bent starting every week.

    Whilst it’s true that some of the collective performances by SAFC have been subpar since January, it’s difficult to compare across seasons: we’ve simply had too many personnel changes. For me you really can’t say we’ve failed to make progress since January when we’ve seen eight, nine, ten changes to our squad since last season. Compare and contrast the starting XI from our last match last season with the XI at Manchester United: only Colback and Sess remain; six others have left the club (five permanently, one on loan). But from my view, there have been big improvements this season. But for poor, unfortunate Brown, we might well have ended 0-0 at the weekend; and 0-0 at Old Trafford is not to be sniffed at.

    I’m sorry you’re not enjoying your football at the moment, but sometimes it’s really worth finding positives, and focusing on them. And if you really, honestly, cannot find a single positive about supporting Sunderland, then you’re welcome to join me at the next Falcons match. Sure we’re bottom of the league, but you can drink beer in the stands. Makes it all worthwhile.

  30. The basis upon which your ‘opinion’ is based is blind to the obvious facts of our performances since last January.

    Continuing to spout the same statistics just proves the old maxim of ‘lies, damn lies and statistics’ and continuing to fail to see the obvious facts of the arguments (i.e. that since last January we have failed to make any progress in terms of performane or consistency) for a wishy washy hope that things will get better, is quite frankly blindly stupid.

  31. CSB And your “reasonable ” argument” is that those showing a different opinion to yourself , are “stuck in a blind stupidity cul-de-sac” !!!!!!!!!!

    I don’t think ANY team in the Premieship could guarantee 3 consecutive wins in this league , no matter who they are playing

  32. Salutsunderland,

    The point I was making is that one camp is stuck in this blind stupidity cul-de-sac and despite further defeats merely state again points that have already been debated ad naseum.

    Reasonable argument and evidence would appear to be a waste of time and we are surrendering to the lets wait and see bunch the future of our premiership survival!

    • Well I admit to being part of the wait and see bunch in the sense that I set the end of the run we are now two-thirds through – WBA, Bolton, Villa, Man u, Fulham, Wigan – as the time when, unless someone else (and demonstrably better) happened to be lined up, I’d make my own judgement. I’m stuck with that./

  33. Sorry I hadn’t finished !!!!!!!! either,

    It has become blatently obvious from the blogs of late that we are stuck in this very two camp situation, despite all evidence to the contrary the Bruce appologists are sticking to their mistaken and unfounded belief in his abilities as a top class manager.

    Other regular contributors (Birflatt et al) don’t even bother to post anymore as it’s all been said many times before and ignored by a myopic Bruce following.

    We have three key games coming up and nothing short of nine points is required. How many Bruce appologists are willing to put their heads on block and predict we will get all nine points?
    Damned few is my bet because we won’t.

    • It should not matter a hoot that there are two camps, which means only that there are different points of view, a situation I regard as respectable and welcome.

      My own shopping list from those three games would be that we ought to be able to get nine points. But football being football and especially SAFC being SAFC, we probably won’t. If I extended my deadline for coming down from the fence to the Wolves game, as opposed to the end of November, I would stipulate seven or – at a significant push, ie in the context of three good displays – six as acceptable.

      If we fail in the coming two home games, or fail to meet the tally I seek from those games plus Wolves (a), I cannot see my qualified support for Bruce surviving intact.

  34. Davey,

    It’s all statistics and does not hide the woefull performances that have regularly been served up since January 2011.

    Man Utd were terrible for them, but you can only play what is put in front you and we did have decent passages of play. However a team that were up for it could have and should of beaten Utd.

    Nothing has changed and I would strongly suggest that you and all the remaining Bruce appologists go and read ‘Waiting for Godot’!

  35. Sorry I hadn’t finished !!!!!!!!

    10th last season – 3rd best finish since 1955 , 8th best finish since the War . Although ABB would say we were lucky to finish 10th . Great display against Man Utd at Old Trafford – of courser ABB say Man U were “crap ” on the day
    Bruce has spent about 43m over 15 months , recouping about 52m on sales over the same period . Add on Gyans loan deal at a reputed 6m with Al-Ain paying his 2m wages , Bruce has effectively recouped 15m over 15 months , whilst trimming the wage bill .
    This season is hardly a quarter of the way through , we have put in some great performances as well as 1 or 2 abject ones , and to me the team is now starting to gel

  36. Davey,

    They are professional enough to realise that they can’t supply it because tactically we are clueless. Quite simple really, you must be struggling with the rest to pick on that one point.

    12 Games played Davey two wins, four draws and six lost, what does this spell, season on season improvement, a continuation of form from last January or a spell in the Championship.

  37. CSB
    Bit of a contradiction saying in one sentence “these people are professional , who get paid vast sums of cash they should perform ” , then following it up in the very next sentence with “they can’t supply that because they are not motivated enough ” Surely they are either professional and should be motivated because of that , or a negative crowd has a negative affect on confidence and performances . Don’t underestimate the importance of a good home crowd

  38. Sunderlands new optimisim is like a breath of fresh air after all that ‘cauldren of negativity’ nonesens’. We only lose one nil to a very below par Man Utd who controlled the game for 90 minutes and created far more chances than us and everything is roses in the garden again, beggers belief the short memory of some people.

    Let me remind you how our season is panning out, of 12 games played (we will ignore cup games as they are just too embarrising) we have won 2, drawn 4 and lost 6. On the back of another defeat where is the optimisim coming from. Utd were very very poor by their standards but still good enough to beat us, so where is the positive in that. Addmitedly we played OK in certain sections of the game, but in all honesty where were we gaing to get a goal from. It was never going to happen. You can have all the possession you like but if you don’t score then what good is it.

    The consistency we are displaying is our inability to win games due to a total lack of creativity from the midfield and limited fire power up front, Bendter exempted.

    ‘I’ve no doubt Bruce will spend big’ in January, well done Stevie Boy after all these years you finally realise we need to replace Bent.

    At least the ‘Cauldron of Negativity’ was quite firmly based upon salient facts, some of the outpourings above are nothing short of deluded ramblings that refuse to recognise the dire situation we are in with Bruce’s continuing lack of tactical or motivational ability.

    Blaming the home crowds for the teams dysfunctional displays at the SOL is rediculous, these people are professional who get paid vast sums of cash they should perform. But they realise the crowd expects a performance and a win and that they can’t supply that because they are not motivated enough or tactically astute. There is solid endevour but this is not enough in the Prem League.

    All of these failings come from one source and until that source is removed, nowt will get better.

  39. Excellent point Ian – the 4k absent supporters last home game , weren’t missed at all , as the 38k there all seemed to get behind the team , even when we went behind twice

  40. I think we now have a team that can give anyone a tough game, home or away. I think thats progress. My worry is that, against the lesser sides like Norwich, we relax and are punished. Our mentality needs to be the same whether we play big or small fish.
    What I also see is a lack of a goal predator finisher. Bendtner is a good player, but his goals per starts are not that good. I hope I am proved wrong and he improves. We NEED someone like Papa Cisse in January (or even Pavulcheynko). I’ve no doubt Bruce will spend big. It can’t come too soon. Its too soon to rely on Ji or Campbell. Even is Campbell plays in 6 weeks time, will he be on top form?
    My worry is our form at home. There’s no doubt that fans’ nervousness transmits to players and players lose a degree of confidence. Fans at the SOL have a huge part to play in making it a fortress. Much more than they realise, psychologically speaking.

  41. A very competant performance and an indication of the team moving forward. We have good players now and are at the stage whe they are developing an understanding. We have lost 4 games agairenst teams in the top 8 and drawn with liverpool the only really poor performance was against Norwich we still have a positive goal differance and are performing well defensivley. This is a season of constructing a new team that will give us stability for the future, lets look at the positives. We have a young team, with a small amount of necassary experience. We have potential with Westwood, Ji Whickham and Colback and can now improve by adding the odd player there should be no more swooping changes which upset the balance.

  42. I thought we looked more compact against Man U than against Villa, where our central midfield provided no cover for the back 4. Richardson can’t pass, but is now a class act in snuffing out speedy wingers, and deserves more credit for his improvement.

    My biggest concern though, which left me feeling hope-less, is our obvious lack of goalscoring ability. In the Prem, “you’re only as good as your strikers” as many say, and at the moment that puts us firmly in the bottom third of the league. It pains me to say it, but I fear that the forthcoming batch of matches, from which it is hoped we will get a good points’ return, will turn out to be a dire struggle in which we get good possession without really threatening to score.

    I still support SB, but it is now vital that we get a goalscorer in January in addition to a centre back with pace. This is the minimum requirement, but a speedy left winger and passing central midfielder are also obvious requirements.

  43. Martin– David Meyler is growing a tache for ‘Movember’. It’s a month-long movement that raises awareness for prostate/testicular cancers, as well as a variety of men’s health causes. Thomas Sorensen and a number of other footballers are active in this charity. If you like, you can donate to Meyler’s efforts at (all you men ought to be donating BTW!)

    It sounds like a horrible cliche, but it’s true: there are no easy fixtures in the Premier League. Too often pride goeth before the fall, and we lose to Wolves or Wigan. And then there are those times we underestimate our lot, and come away with a win against Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea.

    Every match is important, and every match ought to be entered into with an open mind.

    Fulham’s recent performances have been solid, and the fact that they’ve played twice as many matches as most sides means they’ve had far longer to gel, as Martin Jol tends not to rotate out his big names (Schwarzer, Zamora, Dempsey, Hangeland and Murphy all started Thursday and Sunday). I’m sure eventually they’ll tire, but at the moment they seem to have shorn themselves of their dour, playing-for-a-draw reputation.

    We finally look like we’re gathering momentum and our performances of late have been consistent (or more consistent anyway). We’ll miss Larsson next match, but hopefully whomever replaces him will show the same desire and workrate.

  44. Next two games are crucial for determining the way our season is likely to turn out.I still remain reasonably positive but Sunderland being Sunderland I will expect the worst.Good saves by Keiran Westwood but not really in the same class as Monty’s Wembley efforts.

  45. Martin – you will see a lot of varied facial hair over the next few weeks. It is I believe a campaign to raise awareness of men’s health issues especially testicular cancer though it probably needs more publicity. Gary Lineker was sporting an adolescent bumfluff special on MOTD whilst Mark Lawrenson looked like he’d spent the night in a skip.

  46. I loved David Mehlers tackle on Rooney near the end!! However, David – WTF are you doing with your appearance? Since you were injured your hair’s fallen out, but there’s no need to compensate by growing bum fluff on yer top lip! He looks like a 1920’s life guard! Sort it out son will ya?

    Great performance yesterday by the boys. They are looking better every week. You’ve got to admire SB’s pluck after the “cauldron of negativity” he’s had to endure!! I include myself in that scenario of course.

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