If you want to re-inject into your lives a little pride in being a Sunderland supporter, consider this:
P W D L GD PTS
1 Sunderland 12 9 3 0 27 30
2 Watford 12 7 4 1 12 25
3 Leeds United 11 7 1 3 8 22
Yes, the Lasses won yet again, at Barnet, and are now five points clear at the top of the FA Women’s Premier League. Back to them shortly. Mick Goulding, meanwhile, had his weekend football a few miles away in west London. This, from the Blackcats list, is his account of heroic efforts at QPR to prevent a rare London excursion being completely ruined by the Sunderland team running out …
Well I was one of the daft lads who came all the way down from the North East and spent a fortune to watch that pile of s****. But we had a fantastic weekend and, really, we already knew in advance that the match would spoil the fun.
Even our Conor predicted a 2-1 defeat and my mate said he was going to put a fiver on losing 3-1 – but didn’t because we did not pass a bookies.
There was a string of sequence-breakers all lined up and ready to drop – QPR haven’t had back-to-back wins, we haven’t lost to them since the 90s etc etc. These are the runs which always come to an abrupt end when Sunderland are involved and you’re on your way to the game.
We had a couple of cans on the train and then started drinking seriously at 11am on reaching Ealing, where my mate lives. The first pint was in the Red Lion, which is right next to Ealing Studios where all the Carry On films were made. Sid James was a regular and the place is full of old photos of stars who used the pub as their local while filming. How very appropriate this was, in view of the comedy which was to unfold at Loftus Road in the afternoon.
In a lovely, small-world, isn’t-Blackcats-wonderful, kind of way, I found myself right in front of Mike Tivnen and Neil Chandler. The pre-match crack is always the best part, and unfortunately never lasts long enough before the players have to come out and ruin things for you.
It’s all been said about the actual game, but I’ll just add a couple of comments. Firstly, Gardner and Colback aren’t full-backs and aren’t playing well. So you continue with them while you have two proper full-backs on the bench.
Fair enough, they might not be fully fit. But then to add insult to injury, you bring both the two full-backs on as substitutes! If that wasn’t odd enough, it’s in a game that we’re chasing because we can’t score. What is that all about?
Secondly, that’s another game in which Danny Graham does absolutely nothing (Mick didn’t write “nothing” – ed).
Thirdly (okay, I’m on a roll) that Alfie fella is the proverbial headless chicken. He does loads of running around but doesn’t do anything else. He never seems to tackle anybody he just runs past them and
they run past him. Sometimes they bump into each other by accident. And he’s yet another in our seemingly endless list of midfielders who can’t shoot.
At the end of the game I was so angry at our absolute, useless ineptitude that I thought I’d explode. But by the time we got to White City tube, I was already over it and looking forward to the next pint of London Pride and a Thai meal in the Castle near Ealing Green.
Even Sunderland can’t spoil the enjoyment of a weekend on the hoy. A few drinks round Covent Garden on Sunday morning, finished off in the highly recommended Parcel Dept pub/restaurant in the new concourse at Kings Cross.
Being retired I don’t get down there much, so I was amazed at what they’ve done to the place and this pub (in the original Parcel Dept and done out to make it look authentic BR from the age of steam) was great.
If you haven’t found it yet, I recommend giving it a try. Picnic of red wine and assorted nibbles on the train home and the weekend was rounded off in style.
Woke up this morning with snow on the ground in the middle of March only to remember that there had actually been some football and that we are scarily close to another relegation. Surely not? But we really are useless …
To which another subscriber, Ian Todd, the London SAFCSA branch mainstay who boycotted the match in protest at the QPR tickets prices, added:
I’ll be up for the Norwich game but frankly I’d rather use the train trip to go to Eppleton and watch the ladies Women’s Cup match against Man City.
Bravo, Sunderland WFC. If anyone doesn’t make the starting lineup, could you nip over to the Sol and show the Lads how it’s done?
* Catch news of the Lasses’ exploits at http://www.sunderlandwfc.co.uk/index.html
Read Colin Randall at ESPN by clicking here. Sample:
Another promising spell for Sunderland at the start of the second half came and went without hint of a clear chance, or any chance at all, being created. A corner by Johnson, who often struggles to get a cross past the first defender, for once gained height. Unfortunately, that height was achieved just behind the goal.