SA’s Essay: Really pleased for everybody, and the fans deserve it


Jake's take on Big Sam
Jake’s take on Big Sam


John McCormick writes: I could get used to this. Sitting at home with the bairn laughing, me laughing, and looking forward to match of the day. It’s aal reet,  it’s better than aal reet.

I might even have a beer or two between now and then. First, though, I’m intercepting Colin’s post to bring you the letter that Sam has written to him, and perhaps to one or two others

Dear Colin,

It was a great first goal to get us off the mark, after that we missed the chance to go 2-0 up, which is unlike Jermain Defoe, and we paid the price for that one with the 1-1 at half time.

We came out in the second half and really took the game to Manchester United, they were on the back foot. We had a chance that was cleared off the line; [Dame] N’Doye, who was one-on-one, had his chance saved by the keeper and I was thinking, ‘please lads, don’t throw this away’.

Jake: We will win, we will....
Jake: Hawaaaaaay!

Our winner highlights the importance of set pieces and the quality of the ball in. Obviously big Lamine [Kone] stuck his head on it and it was a well-deserved goal for us. I don’t think anyone can say that we didn’t deserve to win this football match today.

Injuries caused us a problem this week, so the team kind of picked itself. Jermain had to have a late fitness test and then Jan [Kirchhoff] came off with a hamstring injury after half an hour. But the way we were playing was very good, very similar to how we played against Manchester City and the fans were right behind us throughout it.

The team showed terrific resilience, even though we conceded a goal today, I thought as a team we defended very well against some of the bigger boys in the Premier League.

Ultimately, the quality of two set pieces won us the game. The first one was Wahbi’s free kick, then the second corner has been headed in by Lamine. The importance of set pieces is there for us all to see. It has won us three very previous points and we’re all absolutely delighted.

We’ve got a break now and that gives all of the injuries a chance to recover for the trip down to West Ham.

I’m really pleased for everybody. That result makes us feel very good.  We all like to feel good for a weekend, particularly the fans here. I hope they have a fabulous weekend – because they deserve it after the support they’ve given us!

Thanks for your support,

Sam Allardyce

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21 thoughts on “SA’s Essay: Really pleased for everybody, and the fans deserve it”

  1. A couple of weeks back I wrote a piece about how the Director of Football regime was resulting in too much money being squandered on players who had little influence on the team’s performance on the pitch.

    Allardyce seems to be imposing his will and has overseen some astute business. I don’t think we should underestimate what a clever piece of business bringing in Steve Harper has been for example. Having brought Pickford back from his loan spell he needed a third keeper as an emergency bench warmer which is what Harper will be (and a mentor to Pickford) but where it was really clever is that offloading Pantillimon freed the wage bill up sufficiently to allow us to bring in the players he has.

    Getting rid of some of the cost of Coates, Fletcher, Graham, Bridcutt, Buckley and Gomez also means the club can stay clear of financial fair play penalties. Not to mention the £40,000+ per week released by dismissing Johnson.

    I’m off to the SoL tomorrow to see how Eboue gets on with the U21s. Yedlin did himself no harm yesterday but if the former Arsenal man is up to scratch then funds are there to pay him until the end of the season at least.

    Big Sam wasn’t my first choice as manager I’ll admit but I am impressed with what has been achieved in the transfer window. Still a mountain to climb if we are to stay up but playing the way we have against the Manchester clubs we have a decent chance of getting out of the bottom three.

  2. One other thing on yesterday’s game. Rodwell takes a lot of stick, a lot of which has to do with the amount we paid for him. I can forgive him a lot after the block he put in with about 15 minutes left where he threw himself in front of a shot with everything spread as wide as he could. Total commitment and lack of concern for injury (and perhaps future parenthood!). Compare that with a number of the other clubs in our position on motd last night and how many of their players turned their backs when ‘blocking’ shots.

    • Yes Dave. I would like to think, if Rodwell gets some game time he will become an important guy to have.
      However, I guess Sam Allardyce is sticking with known presence on the pitch as best as he can at the moment.
      I would love Rodwell to become a first team regular. But as I saw no player except for maybe 1 in the Man Utd squad who would better us, I will be happy if Jack Rodwell finds his boots in the future. He 100% has boots we will need.

  3. My feelings. if we get anything away to West Ham = Brilliant.
    Crystal Palace at Home, we have to win 100%. Then things should start to look better in the table,
    Southampton (Away), like West Ham, anything gained will do.
    Then the run in starts with a must win against Everton at home. You know, the Toffees are a mixed bag at the moment. Win that one, and I think things will finally start to feel good.
    Game after that across the river is another vital win, and those Mags seem to blow hot & cold at the moment, so who knows how that will go. C’mon Sunderland – do yourselves some favours for once.

  4. I was hugely impressed with the attitude of the players and the new signings are an improvement in every position . I was worried prematch about how the Johnson debacle would affect the spirit in the camp,but maybe with the amount of new faces in the team , it wasn’t so much of a factor . If we survive or go down , at least we’ll do it fighting and would I swap Van Gaal for Allardyce ? No chance !

  5. Nitpicking alert….to say Man Utd are not a good side these days is disengenuous. They’re 5th in the table and still in Europe. Whilst not easy they could still finish 4 th…. they’ve spent £250 million recently on players some of whom are world class. It’s in this context that we should see the game..that said Michael Owen needed a bucket to mop up his drooling every time Utd did something. Hyperboles R Us!!!

    And yet the better team won largely because of attitude and commitment

  6. I felt M’Vila could have done better defensively with Man Utds goal. Ambling back not even looking at where the ball was, and then slow to react when he realised Mata had it. Nit picking though. HAWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. I think ‘pat on the back’ is a bit harsh on Yedlin. He and PVA were outstanding and in contrast to Khazri, N’Doye gave Yedlin no help whatsoever with their best player. Surely Billy Jones cannot come back after that.

    • I’m from mining stock Dave – never effusive in my praise! Have to disagree about N’Doye though – thought he did well covering the full back spot before Defoe went off. Looked better after Defoe went off and he took up the central striker position. Might have done better with his one on one though he should sharpen up with more matches under his belt. JD missed a couple of similar chances early in the season – Spurs at home foe example, but he’s sharpened up since.

      I’m fighting off the optimism and though the squad is down on quantity is up on quality. Be nice to have an almost full squad available for the next few games. A point at West Ham and three against Palace isn’t too much to hope for is it?

  8. Don’t forget O’Shea in all this. The fact that he now has a pacy partner next to him allows him to use his experience. He was magnificent today and thoroughly deserved his Man of the Match. Cracking performance from all the team. Onwards and upwards!

    • Dead right Mike – they all did their bit and JOS was a worthy MOM. We need Kaboul fit after the break because as I said to your brother after the match, we only have Wes Brown to cover and I’d not really want to see him having to fill the void for too long should O’Shea or Kone get injured.

      Kirkhoff can fill in there but he looks good in midfield. I hope his limping off yesterday doesn’t mean we have yet another injury prone player on the books.

  9. The most pleasing thing IMO was our attitude and teamwork. We closed down brilliantly, which says a lot for the extra fitness Sam has introduced.

    I think our main weakness is in central midfield. There is a lack of creativity [ hence Sam’s emphasis on set pieces ] It will be good to get Larsson back.

    However, I am beginning to feel more positive. Our last three games have been against so-called bigger teams, and we have not looked out-classed. We now need a run of consecutive wins to bring confidence.

    • I hope Kirchoff isn’t too badly injured as I feel he could be a top player for us in the central midfield role. Rodwell did OK when he came on, not spectacular but did what was required, including a vital block. Toivonen played really well against West Ham and Arsenal and we need him to rediscover that form. Same with Lens. Although the squad is smaller I’m much happier than I was in December. Pat on the back for Yedlin too. He had a decent game today.

  10. First on Match Of The Day for once. But, it seemed as if very few minutes were allowed to look at t. his game.
    I thought we had a penalty shout? Did we, or did we not?
    Surely, that incident should have appeared in the highlights.
    As Ian says, I hope we can stay up as the new players seem to be far better than anything we have signed since Darren (one season) Bent.
    Certainly, Stefan Sessegnon I liked, but, I would have Wahbi Khasri over him any day.
    We never looked good under previous managers unless Lee Cattermole was covering the defence, and now we have Jan Kirchoff and Yann M’villa who do that role also.
    Sam Allardyce seems to understand the strengths and weaknesses of players, and places them as best he can with an average team, I will resist to say ‘at best’ but, I am tempted.
    Still, I marked out 6 possible wins in the 6 we need, and this game was not one of them. It was a draw. So, as long as we get the occasional point away, and pick up home wins, I feel we just ‘might’ avoid relegation. Somehow.
    Sam Allardyce is the perfect manager for SAFC though. We should give him as long as he wants to stay.

    • Although I was at the game I recorded the live broadcast and for once watched it back in its entirety.

      The first handball shout probably wasn’t a pen but the second half shout when Roony’s hand was in front of his face probably was.

      I’ve often thought MOTD don’t show contentious decisions that I’ve noticed at the match, when it looks as if the ref got it wrong and I wanted to have another look.

      • I wasn’t to sure about the foul and yellow card that led to their goal a minute or two later . It seemed a 50/50 from where I was sitting and certainly not a yellow . Without MOTD showing it though , I can’t say for certain .

      • I think the foul and yellow card were for simulation. I thought that Yedlin nutmegged their player then stumbled rather than dived but it wasn’t a foul either way. Was it a dive? I didn’t think so but I can see how the ref felt it was. Speaking of diving my only criticism of Kirkhoff, post Spurs, is that he seems to go down too easily.

      • Hi Guys. I found a DVD copy of the game, in Dutch. Wow. We are playing far far better than I knew,
        They played as a team, and only seemed to suffer around 5 minutes in the first half as Man Utd equalised.
        Second half performance was amazing. Look at the table, where Man utd are, and where we are, and in the second half we bossed the game.
        I love the Van Aarnholt – Khasri situation where they seem to read each other’s runs and cover each other. I sense, Yedlin and N’Doye could progress to achieve the same. Certainly both players are looking to do it.
        It has been a long time since I saw Sunderland play like that. Well done to I guess, Sam Allardyce. We were pussy cats under Gus Poyet. We were Leopards and Lions against Man Utd last night.

  11. He took over a team going nowhere,we couldnt defend and the players then have mostly left.Now we have some players who know their jobs,but we cant afford to just defend,we need 3 points a game at home now.We can be more solid away…Man Utd are not a good team these days,no-one stands out anymore for them and its a long hard way back to the top.Our new signings are looking good,we seemed to have bought well,not our usual nuggets that we have signed in the past,things are looking better,maybe we will escape again….I’m praying it will be!

  12. Allardyce has built his reputation on solid defence. But this season we’ve conceded 50 goals already, joint worst in the division. On the other hand we’ve scored 32, one more than the whole of last season, the same as Liverpool, and only one less than Man United. Attack! Attack! Attack Attack Attack!

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