Sixer’s Soapbox at Peterborough: no banana skin at London Road

A comfortable passage into the Fourth Round and a tie with Yorkshire’s top club Middlesbrough sets the seal on a good day for Pete Sixsmith. An outbreak of retro chanting, inspired by the terraces at London Road makes a good day even better, even though Jarvis the Dog was refused entry by Peterborough United …

Other than in the pages of the Beano, I have never seen anyone slip on a banana skin. Rodger the Dodger, Dennis The Menace and Minnie The Minx all used them in their vain attempts to stop Dad from slippering them (interesting sub text there), but in the street, a discarded banana skin has never, in my experience, led to outbreaks of hilarity as a fat man has gone a*** over tip having placed his size 11s on them.

So it was on Sunday. A few weeks ago, the prospect of a trip to a competent Championship side would have had us biting our fingernails and snapping at our loved ones. Indeed, we had gone down to one of that ilk in the Carling Cup, where the then manager packed his midfield and played Sessegnon alone up front.

After that dismal defeat, I said that the football was predictable, one-paced and dull and that we lacked imagination, verve and flair. I also suggested that if results did not improve quickly, The Brucester should be heading for the library with the pearl handled revolvers.

Well, the revolvers have been used and the new management team, using the same players, and on this occasion, the same formation, have fashioned a team that plays with all of the things we lacked at Brighton. The one addition is James McClean, who showed the Peterborough fans exactly what they missed when he turned them down earlier in the year.

The fact that we won this one at a canter shows the change in attitude and approach since the change of manager. When things were going badly for Bruce, he stood there with his arms folded, unwilling or unable to implement a change. With O’Neill, there is an alert footballing brain on the sidelines, looking all the time at the state of the game and passing instructions on to enthusiastic players who had looked jaded and bored under the previous regime.

Darren Ferguson’s assessment of his own side (“We needed all 11 to play at their best against a good Premier League side; only two did so) was absolutely right. Take the two central defenders out of the equation and they looked little better than teams further down the leagues – and certainly no match for a resurgent Sunderland side, which clearly enjoyed a stress free afternoon.

The midfield trio of Cattermole, Vaughan and Gardner grabbed hold of midfield early on and never let go, allowing the two wide men in Larsson and McClean to have run after run down the flanks. Sessegnon worked ever so hard up front against United’s two best players in Bennett and Zakuani.

Defensively, we were never remotely worried and Mignolet could have worn a Ned Kelly mask for all that he had to do, while O’ Shea and Kilgallon (now the owner of a great song – see later) were as untroubled and as unflappable as that great buttling double act of Jeeves and Carson.

The two goals at the start of the second half killed the game off and allowed the following standing behind the goal to have a retro afternoon, with songs and chants extolling Charlie Hurley, Bobby Kerr, Vic Halom, Gary Rowell, Marco, Bally, Kevin Phillips, Lee Howey, Quinny, Alex Rae, Tommy Sorenson, Dickie Ord and even Danny Collins (although that one faded out pretty quickly). I was disappointed that there were no musical tributes to Shack (He’s big, he’s tall, he’s sitting on the ball, Lenny Shack, Lenny Shack) or Raich Carter (He’s one of our own, he’s one of our own, that Horatio Stratton Carter, he’s one of our own).

As for the reinvigorated, and rediscovered Matt Kilgallon, he was regaled with, “We thought you were dead, We thought you were dead, Matt Kilgallon, We thought you were dead”. If Steve Bruce were watching, he must have wondered about the wisdom of freezing him out for 18 months.

The whole day was most enjoyable. I was accompanied by Mr Horan and the Misses Horan, which sounds like something from a Jane Austen novel. I gather Ms Austen stood behind the goal at The Dell one week and at Fratton Park the next, just like I used to go to The Sports Direct Arena in the 60s, and the paper round money would not stretch to Ipswich Town away.

We stopped in Stamford, as fine an example of an English town as you would wish to see with its four large churches, its golden stone houses and its fine pubs. The London Inn and The Green Man were most welcoming, although the guy in The Green Man wearing the NUFC polo shirt did not stay long enough to find out. As the vicious Misses Horans walked in wearing their Sunderland shirts, he disappeared round the corner, zipped up his jacket, quaffed his pint in record time and left, just before Emma ripped his liver out and ate it.

The draw is an interesting one and gives us plenty to talk about. ‘Boro are a decent side and have a manager and owner who just ooze integrity. Hopefully, Julio will make a return to the Stadium and his name will be sung with gusto, as it was at London Road. It could be another banana skin, but I think we will be fine and Dandy.

17 thoughts on “Sixer’s Soapbox at Peterborough: no banana skin at London Road”

  1. Malcolm, I think that Bendtner has been better in the last few weeks and has done as you say, in holding the ball etc. I do suspect however, that his temperament is such that he won’t offer consistency. It maybe that O’Neill will settle him down, but I doubt it somehow and suspect that after the honeymoon period he will revert to type. I think we should look elsewhere.

    • Hilary – I agree with you and that long term we need someone who can do the job O’Neill is asking him to do and that Bendtner is probably not the long term solution. At the end of the season I expect him to be replaced if not before. Ji and Campbell are different types of player. Wickham may be able to perform that role when fit. But there are those who criticise his temperament and lack of goals (with some justification) without taking his overall contribution into account. It isn’t always easy to appreciate that when you rely on TV coverage as our transatlantic marras have to do.

      Managers have to work with the players at their disposal and watching Bendtner from the stands rather than on the screen, I feel that he gives us something that Gy£n wasn’t. Ji is useful, but lacks the physical strength to perform that role.

      The Dane isn’t as good as he thinks he is but he isn’t as bad as some would make him out to be in my humble opinion.

  2. Point 1: MON knows what he is planning to do but has the ability and imagination to change things if his plan isn’t working.

    Point 2: Bruce brought in some decent players at decent prices but MON is using them and using them in ways that Bruce wouldn’t have even thought of.

    Point 3: I’ll admit that I thought that Hughes might have been a good choice as he was used to working with a limited budget but I was more than happy that O’Neill was in the frame. It will be interesting to see how much money is released at QPR and what Hughes does with it. As for me I now think Short and Quinn made the right decision.

    Point 4: It wasn’t pretty at The Posh but it was effective.

    Point 5: I will again stick up for Bendtner’s contributions. I feel he was missed. His ability to hold the ball and make space for others is a plus to his game. The fact he doesn’t score more a negative. Ji can’t do that job – Wickham may with more experience. But we need balance and I believe Bendtner adds to that.

  3. A taxi driver told me SB was seen drinking in Wallsend very soon after his ‘resignation’, where the regulars gave him a standing ovation. Whether he was scouting in that vicinity or not is unclear.

  4. Yes, we were slow off the blocks I thought, but once we gathered some momentum we looked very much in control. Sessingnon looked very tired and that made a difference, we lost some fluency at times when his passing broke down.

    I agree that this group of players have come to life under O’Neill. Having good scouts and being able to spot promising players is one thing, being a good manager is another. There is still work to be done but we are in a position of increasing security now in terms of the Premiership and we can look forward to achieving other goals. There is no reason why we shouldnt have a good Cup run.

  5. Thought the first 15 mins where a little hairy,we could not get going in the centre of midfield,but once Catts and Gardner got to grips it as much better,though Vaughn looked out of the game for the most part.

    These games are almost a no win situation,everyone expects a win but it was very pleasant to finish it comfortably,a good sign in a confident team,though it must be said Posh were not at their best.

    Massive improvement from the Carling Cup game and I dont wear what a lot of pundits have been saying about this being a decent squad of players that would eventually have come good.,its no use having an eye for players if you cannot get them to perform on the day,Bruce only did half tne job in reality and none of us could afford to do that at work.

  6. I never totally renounced it, Mark, just got very fed up with the rut we were in and never looked like getting out of and figured I’d have more peace of mind if I took a lot less notice of it. Turns out I wasn’t alone; a couple of people wrote that they were planning to support Div 1 teams (or whatever), such was their disgust with the Bruce regime! Anyway, as I mentioned once or twice as it was happening, I discovered it wasn’t at all easy to let go – in spite of myself I still cared and I was still outraged at what was going on. And now, yeah, my enthusiasm is totally back. As I’ve also said, MON wasn’t my first choice as manager but I was wrong there, too. It’s so much better to watch a manager who doesn’t keep rolling over and playing dead but uses his resources intelligently and effectively. We always had the makings of a very good squad and now they’re being allowed to show that.

    • You seem to have you’re enthusiasm back, Bill, after previously publicly renouncing the club. Can I ask what brought this 180 turnaround about?

  7. Really disappointed with myself as I should have travelled up for this game but dismally failed to organise my life in time. I did the friendly last season at London Rd and enjoyed the ‘standing behind a goal watching the Lads’ experience.
    Confidence is a strange and elusive thing – but not when MON is involved. The confidence is tangible and fills the terraces, playing area and living room (where I watched the game from). Despite so many disappointments, I just knew we would win.
    No-one seems to have mentioned the chant that I am sure I heard which was “Ji’s my Lord, my Lord, Ji’s my Lord” etc to the tune of some Welsh/Scouts based anthem or similar.
    I’ve been giggling ever since.
    I’m optimistic about the Boro as well, O’Neill is just too intelligent and intense to allow any slip ups. Not sure about Chelsea though – but they are pedestrian at the back and Sess will have got his wind back by then.

  8. Looks like the “cauldron of negativity” has become a “positive potpourri.”
    Good news these days. I agree with the ‘canter’ remark. I felt a bit smug watching the match as I realised we had an extra ‘gear’ if needed. Not a familiar feeling with this Sunderland fan!
    McClean is proving that he can chip in with the odd goal. Hit the bar as well. Good signs.

  9. Phil – and I think I’m not as vigilant as M. Salut in responding to comments – but all comments, questions and queries are very welcome. I guess PS is usually occupied watching non-league football

  10. What disappoints me is that PS (who I think writes very good reports, that I genuinely, look forward to) seems loathe to respond to any queries regarding them.

    C’est la vie.

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