Sixer Says: another week, another mess and now we go to Spurs

it ain't over

Sixer by Jake
Sixer by Jake

Pete Sixsmith has declared Tottenham on Monday night to be his last away game of the season. If, as seems likely, we lose, it may as well be Sunderland’s, too. Sorry to be so downbeat; it’ll all seem better when we’re banging in goals for fun and winning games galore in next season’s big promotion push. And who knows? Wouldn’t it just be so typical of SAFC to win at Spurs and then go down because Cardiff call successfully for a points reduction over the Ji affair. The Ji affair? Let Pete continue …

When the final history of Sunderland AFC comes to be written (round about 2025 at this rate) the week we have just lived through could well prove to be a turning point.

Not content with playing like drains against West Ham United, the club then got itself into a bit of a pickle over selecting a player who was not actually eligible to play for us. Oh dear.

Enough has been said about the disappointing showing on Monday night. For many, it was the realisation that we are not actually very good. Not good at signing players, not good at picking teams, not good at defending and not good at opening up a defence to give our forwards a chance to score. And when we do, not good at drilling the ball into the net.

On top of that, we don’t seem very good at administration. That the Premier League have fined us a considerable sum of money for not ensuring that Ji Dong-Won had been cleared to play in England after his spell in the Bundesliga shows us that Sunderland AFC may not be, in the current parlance, “fit for purpose”.

It is the kind of error that really should not be made and is now placed alongside the failure to get Dominic Matteo to sign his loan form in 1995, something that could have sent us into Division One. That we only gained one point from the games that Ji played for us does little to assuage the fact that, once again, our administration was found seriously lacking. I can’t imagine George Crow or Ron Linney making such a blunder.

Now, there will be clubs around us looking carefully at the decision that has been laid down. I imagine that they have known about this for a while, but the public revelations will have the owners of Fulham, Cardiff, Palace West Brom and Norwich seriously considering a request that the one point we gained during the games that the wretched Ji played for us, be taken away.

The relevant Premier League rule appears to make an allowance for mistakes of this nature in that it does not specifically mention a points deduction, but the FA Rule that applies to those leagues that are covered by the FA generic rules, ie, those below the Football League, does allow a points deduction to be made.

Indeed, Marine lost three points when they signed a player who had been playing for Colwyn Bay. The Premier League could have passed our case to the FA, in which case we would undoubtedly have had a point’s deduction – probably three.

Jake: out of hospital and on the mend The Lads? Still poorly
Jake: out of hospital and on the mend
The Lads? Still poorly

Catch up on the Spurs v SAFC buildup by browsing the home page:

Not that it matters much as the chances of us getting out of the relegation zone are becoming less and less likely. Spurs should be another difficult Monday evening for us as their collection of overpaid and underperforming players will be keen to make up for last week’s inept performance at Liverpool. And their o’s and u’s are far better than ours.

Aidan Kerridge put an excellent post on our Facebook page where he invited us to decide who was to blame for this shambles – De Fanti, Di Canio, Poyet, O’Neill, Bruce, Short, the players. My view is similar to that put forward by Christopher Clark in his book The Sleepwalkers.

That’s not about our defence, but the definitive account of how the European powers blundered into war 100 years ago. Unlike M Saluts’ old boss Max Hastings and our wonderful Education Secretary, Michael Gove, Clark does not heap all the blame on the Kaiser and Germany. He apportions blame on all the powers, looking at all the little things that happened to make some kind of war inevitable.

And that is why we are in the state we are in – a combination of things has eventually laid us low and looks certain to confine us to the Championship – and there is little likelihood of an immediate return. Wolves could be the model we follow.

Saturday will see me in the company of John Penman watching Hill of Beath play Musselburgh in an East of Scotland Super League game. The old pit village is the birthplace of a Sunderland player from the 60s. There is a statue of him outside the Miners Welfare Hall. No prizes for guessing who it is.

19 thoughts on “Sixer Says: another week, another mess and now we go to Spurs”

  1. You could argue that we should be allocated a few points due to being forced to play with 10 men for most of this season. Even the PL bosses would have to acknowledge that Dumbledore is no more than a spectator. They should be charging him at the turnstiles for getting in.

  2. Administrative incompetence aside,Ji was one of our players anyway out on loan, so why should we be deducted point(s) for playing a player we already own?It would be farcical.

    Relegated for playing our own signing…that ‘d be a first.

  3. We turned down a sizable offer for Larsson in January as well it seems, might have balanced the books regarding goal machine Scocco. I despair .

  4. What? Like a few goals you mean.

    We certainly didn’t seen any of those.

    I read somewhere earlier today that they are interested in Larsson. Another freebie. It suggests they are skint.

  5. Regarding Ji. Isn’t he joining Dortmund next season ? We forget he is still young and they clearly see something we don’t

  6. It was a joke John, or at least an attempt at humour, if only of the gallows variety in that he might have put us out of our misery early.

    The fact that the only thing that he might have done for us was to inadvertently have cost us points. Not his fault. Not a big deal as he was our player who had come back from loan.Bruce would have you think it was a serious deal of course, but it has been dealt with sensibly.

    None of it was his fault. Even the fact that he was useless probably wasn’t his fault either. He was just crap. Just the way it is.

  7. It’s quite simple:

    Lack of Talent + Lack of Effort = Relegation

    Regarding Ji:

    I hope the unidentified incompetent in admin, responsible for this fiasco, is tossed to the curb at the end of the season. Since we have to toil in the raggedy-ass championship next season, it’s a good time to sweep clear our incompetent management as well as our playing staff. As the old saying goes: ‘the fish stinks from the head.’

  8. I’m reading ” The Sleepwalkers ” at the present time – highly recommended.
    Actually, you could use this analogy to sum up SAFC in more than one way.
    Our team frequently perform in a hypnogogic condition, occasionally waking up 15 minutes from the end to find themselves two down.
    Usually however, the somnambulistic state can be relied upon to last the full 90 minutes.
    I imagine that a degree of dreaming must take place during these fugue states – possibly some of them imagine themselves to be footballers?

  9. Don’t think anyone’s blaming Ji for the admin error John. Just the fact that he’s absolutely useless and we rumouredly turned down a fortune for him in the summer , now this.Nevet mind the fat lady singing we should be playing the Laurel and Hardy theme .

    • Comment from Jeremy, above “thanks, Ji”
      Comment from Eric012, “New name is Hi Dun Wrong”

      It looks like blaming Ji to me.

      Is this the Ji who won the game against Man City and scored against Chelsea? The Ji who had his confidence destroyed by Di Canio’s ill-timed substitution?

      I’ve seen better but we’ve started with worse recently

      • Di Canio taking him off at that time was a rotten move . You can’t excuse Ji’s or anyone else bad form post Di Canio on that though . The crowd always got behind him probably because of that goal against City , but he simply didnt do it for us while collecting a fortune every week for he’s efforts . He’s not alone, that’s why we are where we are. I’m afraid I’m not in a very sympathetic mood towards any of the shower that put us in this position , wether they’re still with us or not .

  10. Why blame Ji for someone else’s error? Do you you really think he came back and then asked management to confirm his eligibility before he would play?

  11. It’s almost reached the stage where if they were playing in my back garden I’d close the blinds.

    Anyone trekking to White Hart Lane to watch this lot wants their head examining. Sorry Pete!

  12. New name is Hi Dun Wrong. Enjoy WHL Pete. I’m almost ashamed to say I can’t be bothered and I live only 10 miles away.

  13. If there had been a points deduction then it would have been some form of euthanasia. A kindness of sorts, but offered only as a matter of course to dogs and not Sunderland supporters.

    Put the agony to an end. Can you imagine being able to thank Ji Dong Wan for something after all this time?

    Altidore could only dream of making such a telling contribution to SAFC.

    Death by hanging? Lethal injection? Electric chair? Guillotine? Points deduction courtesy of the abject Korean.

    Points deduction please! Thanks Ji.

  14. Pretty much sums up everything , Pete. We are going down , because, as you say, we are are lacking all over the pitch with weak first choice players having no competition. Enjoy Saturday, is there a statue outside other Scottish grounds to honour our other luminaries such as Portafield and Ralph Brand ?

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