Bravo Connor, Premier player of the month, and time for hands to go up

Jake captures the man who's given us hope
Jake captures the man who’s given us hope

How many Sunderland fans,
from home-and-away diehards to exiled Mackems and assorted fansite/fanzine writers, can keep a straight face when claiming never to have criticised Connor Wickham?

I’ve done it, others at Salut! Sunderland have done it, the Blackcats email forum has at times been awash with criticism.

Now, as Stephen Goldsmith says on the new Salut! Sunderland podcast – we still claim it as ours since it started here – is right to acknowledge his stunningly timely run of form. Goldy was honest enough to admit he was among those to have slagged off the player’s past efforts.

This is how reports his Premier Player of the Month award for April:

Wickham, who turned 21 at the end of March, was selected after scoring a league-high five goals during the month.

He bagged braces against Manchester City and Cardiff as well as scoring Sunderland’s first goal in the 2-1 win over Chelsea, helping the Black Cats to a return of seven points over that spell.

Wickham becomes the second Sunderland player to win the award in 2014 after Adam Johnson was named Player of the Month for January.

Wickham is quoted as saying: “I’m delighted to receive the award and it means so much to me. We’ve picked up some great points in recent weeks and we need to keep going.”

Bravo, Connor. You have proved a lot of people wrong.

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Jake: 'come on Lads. Make every Mackem's day'
Jake: ‘come on Lads. Make every Mackem’s day’

Matt's cartoon (cherished by M Salut), as adapted by Jake
Matt’s cartoon (cherished by M Salut), as adapted by Jake

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8 thoughts on “Bravo Connor, Premier player of the month, and time for hands to go up”

  1. We shouldn’t have signed Wickham. Not for that fee anyway, we just can’t afford to be spending that on a player for for the future.

    We haven’t exactly developed the lad very well though there were signs under O’Neill that his hold up play and touch were coming on. Then he was ignored completely for a while and then should never have been sent to Leeds in February.

    Now though, he’s a huge asset and maybe there’s a happy ending after all. Like William says his touch has improved massively to go with his obvious size and strength. One of the first things we need to do once we stay up is pin him down to a new deal, and hope we can look forward to his goals for years to come.

    • I have it on good authority that there was a concern within the club regarding his attitude. The talk is that while he would be willing to ask for advice and ways to improve he didn’t put into practice the advice he was given.

      Something seems to have clicked and the real test for him now is to kick on and continue to improve. A couple more winning goals this season will seal his place in the club’s history but he’ll need to show quality in the years to come to be remembered in the same way as SKP rather than Danio Dichio.

  2. Wickham has had three good games for us. I hope he has 3 more good games before the season ends. Past criticism was justified as he just wasn’t performing at the necessary level. Corner turned or flash in the pan? I’ll need him to show more consistency before I’m fully convinced. Convince me Connor!

    • The main improvement, for me, has been in his first touch. Up until recently he could trap it further than I could kick it [ in the words of the immortal George Best ]

      He seems to have acquired the ability to hold up the ball – the first requirement in a centre forward, and suddenly he looks a different player.

      But, as you say, early days.

  3. Hopefully over the next three matches, Wickham will continue to produce goals and see us through to safety. For I’m afraid if our efforts fall short, it will be a double blow to the side: in addition to relegation, Wickham’s recent outstanding performances would assuredly bring offers from premiership teams. Just Sunderland’s luck, to take the drop AND lose the answer to our goalscoring woes.

  4. I have checked my past comments and can’t find any reference to my criticising Wickham, or in fact saying anything about him, which could be taken as criticism in itself.

    The lad has apparently got his act together of the pitch and we are reaping the benefits upon it. But it is only a beginning and he need to continue to work hard because he has the talent, its up to him to use it.

    His goal against Chelski was class, a great finish against a great keeper. He is willing to put his head in where it may get hurt, that’s the spirit we want to see. Lets all hope he kicks on from here both for SAFC and himself.

    Does anybody else agree that the midfield appears to be working more fluidly since Ki became absent. Not a criticism of him, but we do seem to have improved in terms of moving the ball forward quicker and more dangerously…..just a thought.

    • I made the same comment [ getting the ball forward quicker ] a few days ago.

      IMO, up until the last few games, our build up has been far too laboured, allowing defenders to get back in numbers. As a result we were getting very few attempts on goal.

      Passing football is very pretty, but ineffective if you don’t have very skilful midfield players who can break down blanket defences.

      I think we may have found the best way to play with our current squad?

  5. Only Safc could have two player of the month awards and still be threatened with the drop…..the season is only nine months long…..and in two months we had the PotMs….bonkers…..

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