It’s FootbalI Not Soccer: Sunderland, Newcastle, Norwich, Stoke and Southampton previewed

Pete Sixsmith: 'where did those 51 years go?'
Pete Sixsmith: ‘where did those 51 years go?’

It is fair to say
Pete Sixsmith does not care greatly who wins the Premier League title, at least not while we seem not quite up to the challenge ourselves.

So do not be surprised that he gives a different answer to the question depending on when he is asked.

For the neatly titled site It’s Football Not Soccer blog, Sixer opted for Man City. Elsewhere on these pages today, you’ll see him telling Scott the Red of Republik of Mancunia the title will be retained by that adorable West London brand, Chelsea.

This part of the IFNS series of previews features our warm-hearted, imaginatively led Friends from up the Road, Norwich City, Southampton and Stoke as well as Sunderland AFC.

We are not sure IFNS should be allowed on here at all since its own writer Olly’s conclusion is that we will be relegated.

But Olly’s a Reading fan so his view hardly counts. And we said we would share Sixer’s responses – it’s another good interview full of the usual Sixer mix of wit and wisdom – so here goes:

1 Which player is a “one to watch” at Sunderland this season?

The obvious answer is Jeremain Lens, the Dutch international we have signed from Dinamo Kyiv. In his own words, he is quick, sharp and scores goals, something that Sunderland have lacked for quite a while. I would suggest two other players who could make names for themselves this season; Jack Rodwell needs to put three disappointing years behind him and show what a good player he is. If he can recapture that Everton form, he will be a huge player for us and will create a solid central midfield with Cattermole and Larsson. It is also an important season for Duncan Watmore, an under the radar signing from Altrincham two years ago. He has done well for the Development Squad and was dangerous for England Under 20’s in Toulon. He may need a good loan spell in the Championship, but he could equally play a part in the first team.

2 Are you happy with the club’s transfer activity so far?

The transfer activity has gone well and appears to have been well thought out. After the scatter gun approach of de Fanti and di Canio and the strange obsessions of Gus Poyet, there seems to be some planning. Another couple would not go amiss, particularly a clever 20 goal a season striker (the problem there is that there are just too many to choose from) and we also need to move players on. We are not a particularly attractive club due to persistent relegation campaigns, persistent turnover of managers/head coaches and a reputation for playing dreary football. So we have to look for those who want a challenge.

3 Were you pleased that Dick Advocaat decided to stay on, or would you have preferred a change?

It was important that he remained and gave the club some stability and credence. He has bought into the ethos of Sunderland AFC which is important. It also gives us 12 months to find a long term replacement that will enable the club to move on. The reason for the (relative) success of Stoke City and Swansea City is longevity and continuation. We have had neither since Peter Reid’s time.

4 Best away ground to visit in the league?

I am tempted to say the Sports Direct Arena because we always seem to win there. But I like Ashburton Grove and I always enjoy the time warp that is Goodison Park.

5 Who do you think will win the Premier League title and who will get relegated?

Manchester City will win it followed by the usual three. Those to go down? I suppose Watford and Bournemouth will be favourites and we will be in the minds of many. I think Aston Villa and Leicester City will have difficult seasons.

6 Predicted Sunderland finish?

Let’s live dangerously and say between Stoke and Swansea and above Southampton. That should be about 10th. S Teams To Dominate Mid Table!!!!

And now for the squeamish to avert their eyes at IFNS offers its own view…

Olly’s view: Other than the newly promoted trio, Sunderland are the favourites for relegation, and I have to agree. Jeremain Lens is a good signing, although he can’t do it all by himself, and there’s not much other quality in the squad in my opinion. Connor Wickham has gone, Jermain Defoe is ageing and Steven Fletcher is injury prone. Another relegation battle is in store, but I think the Black Cats may have run out of lives. 18th

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7 thoughts on “It’s FootbalI Not Soccer: Sunderland, Newcastle, Norwich, Stoke and Southampton previewed”

  1. Dicks comments are becoming lax and troubling. He also seems to have fallen into the ” cant see the wood for the trees ” mode that worried us with Bruce and Poyet. Like the other two hes constantly changing positions yet still using players who do not perform well.No one gets to l know each other or how the so called systems works … or doesnt! Why didnt we start the year with the team who drew with Arsenal then feed the new players in. I cannot see much logic in his dealings and am worried about his utterances which are a bit disturbing as he seems to be distancing himself from blame. Playing Van Arholt, Kabhoul Coates in the same defence may make sense to him but its obvious to us he might as well play Russian roulette with the scoreline .We know that … he d be better to bring back Brown for 2-3 games steady the ship and drop Arnholt … how many more games does he need to see hes lacking. We need 2=4=4 with some punch up front or the ball will always be in our half with one Sunderland guy chasing dreams or trying to hold the ball surrounded by 3 opposition players. Is it me or is the whole club just jumbled up and confusing.

  2. We desperately need to bring in a couple of players. There’s no question about that. I just watched a p Here season preview type thing on the tv and Eddie Howe was talking about his pre-season preparations and games were as much about the new lads getting to know their new team mates off the field as well as on. Why are we waiting until te season starts until we draft players in (as usual). They’ve had since May to get Fer signed and fit, but no we wait untl Wednesday to find out he has a knee problem. That is just plain crap.

    Martin’s right. Short wants to do it all on the cheap and he’s no different to Bob Murray. Happy to finish one place above the drop zone and equally happy for the fans to believe that we have more ambition than that. He just doesn’t think it’s worth the investment to finish a few places higher so that we can sleep easy in our beds at night. Dick Advocaat provided a great platform to do something different and it looks like it’s being wasted to me. More loan players and constant bulsh*t about FFP etc. I’m sick of it and the season hasn’t even started yet.

  3. I am still pretty confident that we will bring in two more players, and I think we need to.

    I agree with Jeremy that a striker is our priory. Our second weakness is the lack of a genuinely creative midfield player.

    If we could sign two proven PL level players for these positions, I would fancy our chances of a mid table finish given Advocatt’s astute management. If not, I fear we may struggle.

  4. Without the two missing signings it’s hard to feel confident about the season ahead. Given that, but for a failed medical, the loan signing of Leroy Fer would appear to have been deemed sufficient to fill one of those two first team places, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that, once again, Ellis Short wants to do things on the cheap. With the riches that will come with membership of next season’s Premier League and the attendant player price inflation, I think this approach is madness. Or depressingly crap is another way of putting it.

    • Not sure that Short wants to do it in the cheap.

      I think there could be a problem round the FFP rules which, until we get rid of a couple more players, prevents us from offering wages expected by a ‘big signing’.

      Hopefully Bridcutt and Buckley will move on along with Mavrias and Roberge thus creating a bit more spare capacity in the wages bill.

  5. Bring in a striker or preferably two, who can get double figures or at least close to this season and we will be alright. Without that happening we are relegation fodder and the neutrals who are predicting it will be proven correct

    It’s astonishing that we are going into the season tomorrow with the same strike force as last season. That’s not even including Wickham who provided a very limited contribution. If someone had told me that when the final whistle went at the end of last season I’d have never believed it possible.

  6. I think that relegation is an understandable prediction from neutral observers …..if such a person exists. However I think it would be sensible to leave any predictions on the shelf until the end of the transfer window,by which time we might have signed the two players that will make the difference.If we don’t make those signings and our new signings don’t ‘hit the ground running’ or a couple of last year’s under-performers don’t ‘step up to the plate’ then we could be in for another difficult season.

    On the positive side we do have a very experienced and pragmatic mangager who I feel sure get the best out of our squad.I just hope that their best is good enough to keep us away from the bottom three. Time will tell.

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