Steph Jones*, an avid supporter of our next opponents, Liverpool, pops up in The Observer, along with Pete Sixsmith, when they want someone prepared to pontificate about their clubs for free. Salut! Sunderland is a bit the same with its invitations to the “Who are You?” hot seat, though we have more reason to expect it for nowt. Loved the succinct nature of her responses – some interviewees go on for yonks – but wonder whether she really, truly believes David Moyes will have to settle for a place outside the top four this season …
Guess the Score in SAFC vs Liverpool at https://safc.blog/2013/09/safc-vs-liverpool-guess-the-score/
Salut! Sunderland: So, you are all decided early on that Jordan Henderson wasn’t much good. Are doubts setting in on Simon Mignolet and if so, can we have him back?
He’s been great for us so far, so sorry, no.
In reality, with Mignolet’s help, you’ve made a great start to the season, despite Saturday’s defeat at home to Southampton, the exact opposite of last season. Explain what’s gone right.
We’ve won games! It was six games until our first win last season, but this we won the first three on the bounce. Had a blip since, but we’re doing ok.
And you’ve done it, at time of writing, without Suarez, though he’s due back (and was, for last night’s league cup defeat at Man Utd – ed). Is he someone to cherish for his undoubted gifts or does all that dodgy baggage make you wish sometimes that he’d been allowed to beetle off to Arsenal or elsewhere in the summer?
Suarez is a massive talent and a joy to watch. He’s one of the best in the world right now. Who knows what will happen with him, if he’ll stay for a long time or go, it could all kick off again about him leaving in January, but for now he’s back. He’s the kind of player that gives everything every time, so I’ve never doubted that when he does come back he’ll be the same for us. He doesn’t know any other way to play.We are a better team with him, there’s no doubt about that.
Do you feel the Anfield ownership and team management are now in decent order, and what is your assessment of the Fenway/Werner/Rodgers set-up?
We need a heavyweight representative on Merseyside. No owner is ever in it for the benefit of the club and fans, which is why the ultimate aim should be fan ownership of clubs, or certainly fan representation. Rodgers is our manager, so we back him.
The greatest talking point from our recent encounters was undoubtedly the beachball winner, which should really have gone down as an own goal scored by the Liverpool fan who threw it on the pitch. Do any other matches between us stick out in the memory?
First game of the season about five years ago at your place when Torres scored with about 20 minutes to go. Always ggod to get off to a winning start and to have a win for the long journey home.
What is your view of Paolo Di Canio, the desperate start Sunderland have made to this season (question posed before the sacking)?
It’s a tough time for Sunderland, and everyone is weighing in with opinion and rhetoric and you certainly don’t need mine. I will say, again it’s the fans who are left wanting, who keep paying and turning up but who are at mercy of the whims of the owners.
Name the greatest players you/ve seen, or wish you’d seen, in Liverpool colours and tell us who should have been allowed nowhere near them.
Kenny Dalglish, Johnny Barnes, Souness, Rush, Fowler, Gerrard … I could go on and on. The greatest players I’ve seen have worn the red shirt. I’ve been lucky enough to see others – Messi, Ronaldo, Maldini, Pirlo … and I guess they could have done a job for us. Don’t like to be negative but we had a few corkers in the 1990s.
What have been your own highs and lows as a fan?
There have been tons, winning the five big ones for starters. Lows are part of being a fan, the defeats etc, but the biggest most recently was the ‘reign’ of Hicks and Gillette. They brought the club to its knees and we’ll paying for their legacy for a while yet.
What will the top four be this season, in order, and who’s going down?
Us, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal. Couldn’t say who’ll take the drop.
I bet Liverpool featured in the first part of your last answer and fear Sunderland may have popped up in the second. If not, where will each club finish? Who are you tips for the major cups?
Hope we’re up there for the cups (minus, now, the Capital One – ed).
What most inspires you about modern football, and what really appals?
Seeing the world’s best players regularly. Stupid ticket prices, ridiculous kick-off times, hype, over-paid ordinary players, hype, demand for instant success, hype,verbiage …
Club versus country: which means more to you?
LFC every time.
Will you be at our game and what will be the score?
Will be midway across the Atlantic en route to USA and won’t know result until touchdown. Any score, so long as it’s an away win.
* Steph Jones on herself:
I grew up in Anfield and Liverpool have been part of my life since I can remember. I’ve been watching the Reds since mid-1970s when my dad first took me and am a Kop season ticket holder.
Interview: Colin Randall
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