The Chapman Report from Swansea: can SAFC finish above Newcastle?

Jake wasn't to know Sixer would be out of bounds again

Not often, Pete Sixsmith misses a game. Either some non-league or oval-ball (RL only) nonsense has taken his fancy or up with certain, usually London prices he will not put. Where Swansea away fitted into this is unclear, but luckily our old friend and very occasional contributor Bob Chapman, who is – like Pete – a teacher so a bit of a brainbox, offered to clamber into Sixer’s Soapbox to deliver the Monday morning lecture. As for the question Bob poses at the end of his report, mentioned in the headline, Newcastle’s failure to beat Aston Villa – a match that surely had home banker written all over it – seems more worrying for them than a draw at Swansea is for us..

This was only my third visit to Swansea. The first was under the guidance of Sixer himself who helped subsidise the trip by purchasing vast amounts of Persil washing powder for the attached travel vouchers.

As a teacher governor he was involved in my appointment at Ferryhill Comprehensive School back in September 1979. I wonder if being a Sunderland supporter helped him with his decision making?

Anyway the Swansea away trip is often recalled when we discuss the “old days”. It entailed taking the overnight sleeper from Darlington to Kings Cross, having spent the evening in the Timothy Hackworth in Shildon. We then walked across to Paddington in the early hours to catch the first train to Swansea, ready for opening time!

Needless to say I can’t remember much of the match, suffice to say we got beaten 3-1 and Gordon Chisholm played on the left wing.

The second visit last year was an uneventful 0-0 draw, of which I remember even less. So now, what of the third visit? Well, I nearly didn’t make it. Stuck, stationary on a train outside Gloucester for almost an hour, I was beginning to wonder whether this was going to be another calamitous Saturday.

Living in Bedfordshire, I have to treat all matches as away games. The thought of having to phone my wife, two weeks on the trot, to explain that there is no match and for her then to suggest I crack on with some Christmas shopping would be enough for anybody to take.

It was one of those games that could have gone either way and in hindsight we should be happy with a point.

Swansea will be disappointed that they had so much possession and were unable to convert that into goals. Their game plan hasn’t changed much since last year. They pass the ball as well as Arsenal and similarly over-elaborate around the edge of the box.

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The game was refereed by Roger East who was making his Premier debut. He should have booked Neil Taylor for his reckless self-inflicted ankle breaking challenge on Gardner early in the first half.

We scored the opener against the run of play following a dreadful back pass by Williams. Fletcher nipped in. It was a difficult chance but he made it look as easy as he slotted it in the space between Vorm and the far post.

Following that McLean came close with a tremendous volley that would have been a candidate for goal of the month.

However within minutes Swansea had equalised. Clever passing around the box engineered a chance for Routledge to score
from close range. It was no less than he deserved as he along with Dyer caused problems all afternoon.

We then regained the lead as Fletcher tapped in following a Larsson free kick. To go in 2-1 at half time having only had 37 per cent of the play is fortunate although, to be fair, we were playing well. The game plan was obviously to defend deep and hit them on the break, the only problem being that we were only able to do the former (though doing it rather well).

The second half started with more of the same and it was no surprise when Michu scored the equaliser. Although we were competing and playing some good stuff ourselves I felt there was always going to be one winner and in typical Sunderland fashion it wouldn’t be us.

However that should have changed when Chico got himself sent off for a reckless challenge on Saha. Roger East definitely got this one right. Frustratingly, we were unable to press ahead the advantage we had and Swansea carried on in much the same way putting us under pressure with their slick quick short passing style.

Swansea are a good side and will have no problems with second season syndrome. In fact I feel it won’t be that long before Brendon Rodgers is regretting his decision to move on.

So, what of the new signings? Fletcher lasted 65 minutes, scored twice and demonstrated why he is so highly rated. He worked tirelessly and was always an option up top to relieve the pressure. In addition to his finishing, he has excellent close control and is capable of playing simple one-touch balls to supporting players. He is a much better footballer than Darren Bent and let us hope he can be as prolific. You have to remember for such a big man Bent is poor in the air.

Adam Johnson had a quiet game but showed enough glimpses of what he will bring to the team. Louis Saha demonstrated that there are still goals in him. Unlike Dwight Yorke, good player that he was, he hasn’t lost his pace and MON now has different options that he can use up front.

Hopefully, the days of 4-5-1 with Sess up top, fighting to retain a point are now gone. The back end of last season was desperate and now MON has finally brought in quality that means we will be in a position to give all teams a game instead of just trying to hold on.

A good solid start with two points from two difficult away games. Can we achieve a higher position than Peter Reid did and in addition finish above the Mags? I’m convinced we can, but then I’m an optimist.

22 thoughts on “The Chapman Report from Swansea: can SAFC finish above Newcastle?”

  1. So many blowhards on both sides. You can of course put your money where your mouth is. We have Wagers for Charity on our board with the loser making a donation to a charity of the winners choice.

    A typical wager this season, one on one with a Mag fan, is £10 for the side highest in the league. £5 on each of the Derby game results, sometimes with a £1 per goal difference . This year on our board I have added against Peeld a highly successful Mag adept at prognostication, £10 for the most attacking side during the season, with another club supporter making the decision to avoid dissent.

    Because the wagers are about making a donation to charity, rather than personal gain, it is not governed by the Gaming Laws and the stakes can be as low or as high as you wish.

    Alternatively perhaps those who have not got the bottle should ease back on the bragging.

    The only person to renege on a challenge in the last eight years was not from Sunderland.

  2. If you’re in somebody’s shadow, don’t they have to be sucessful for that to work? They finished second about 14 years ago. SECOND.

  3. Great post Paul , and there’s me thinking that most Newcastle fans are parochial partisans

    Good result yesterday by the way , against the mighty Villa , and a full house too !!!!!!

    Here’s looking forward to us being in your shadow for the next 5 years too .

    You forgot to mention , better manager and owner too

  4. Never, in 30 years of supporting NUFC, have I heard our success judged on whether we finish about SAFC. Forget about your neighbours for once and just concentrate on having a good season, regardless of where we finish. It’s getting embarrassing now

  5. To the Mag fans that come on here drawn by the headline, please read the last bit of Bob’s report where he says “but then I’m a bit of an optimist” before resorting to pure abuse.

    Paul – Gardner was fouled by Taylor and his fracture was the result of the awkward way his foot landed after his challenge – not because of anything Gardner did. As for being booed off the pitch – the Sunderland fans (and players) were applauding him off the pitch – a fact which was commented on on MOTD.

    • The writer of the above report raised the question, one that occurs to both sets of supporters. He did so inoffensively and in passing and the headline merely echoes his thought. How anyone can take exception to that, or read into it obsession as opposed to lively interest, is something perhaps only a psychiatrist could explain.

  6. it just goes to show how simple minded makems are the ryan tayler over the wall is not just because he scored a screamer against yous (although it dose play a major part…….Awsome goal) he actually scores them often…and the reason why they did it was to keep the lads spirit up after he has just been injured and will be out for 6 months..i hoenstly believe that sunderland have a good setup from top to bottom but i cant see them finishing above newcastle only because we seem to grind out results when it looks like were not which is what sunderland cannot do

    • Only two games in for us, Bri, and we’ve done OK so far, so we’ll have to reserve jusdegment on the grinding out of results

    • Distort facts all you like mate. Taylor is no Beckham, decorating Match of The Day with weekly offerings of dazzling free kicks. Of course it will be sang after every free kick he scores, but it wasn’t sang before that game and you know it. And it isn’t sang exclusively proceeding any other free kick he scores. It’s a SAFC reference, you know it and I know it.

    • bri, I think this was fair comment under Bruce. I think, however, it will be very different under O’Neill. I suspect Sunderland will become very difficult to beat. I think it will take a couple of seasons for him [ O’Neill ] to make Sunderland a serious threat, but given his track record I wouldn’t back against it.

    • sitting firmly on my hands as I haven’t got a clue what he’s on about. As for Taylor – if the ref had any guts he’d have red-carded him. I’ve seen it agin on the TV and he clearly fouled Gardner

  7. With that headline it screams of the desperation that SAFC fans all have to be above NUFC.
    There is only one problem with that although you might go above us for 1 or 2 games we (NUFC) will always be the better team we have the better players we have the better stadium we have the better supporters.
    how you can even write a report like this after Craig Gardner’s disgusting tackle on Neil Taylor and even worse the way SAFC fans boo’ed him off the pitch on a stretcher is Disgusting and how you can call yourselves football fans is beyond comprehension.
    Perhaps in future before writing a report think about it from the other teams perspective too and perhaps your report wouldn’t be so one sided and perhaps you might start realising why everyone hates you as a club
    You will be foreverinourshadow all the time you behave in this disgusting and deplorable way.

    • I’m not really sure ‘everybody’ hates us as a club mind.

      Now is not the best time to speak of embarrassment and obsession, a day after Newcastle players took to the field with tracksuits containing reference to a winning goal against Sunderland.

      While fans’ over obsession with their rivals is becoming depressingly common place, for the players to do so in representation of the club is quite simply shameful. And indefensible.

  8. No chance, and you wonder why they call us deluded? I’m embarrassed to say you’re a sunderland supporter

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