SA’s Everton essay: fantastic (with things to sing when you’re winnin’)

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

John McCormick writes: Petula’s singing quietly in the background as I finish my beer. I’ll shortly be going to bed, where I’ll hum “I believe” until, at midnight, Radio 4 lets the sound of Big Ben ring out with: Jer-main-De-foe, Jou-nas-Ka-boul; Kha-zri-Ko-ne, Ca-at-er-mole.

Tomorrow, I’ll wake up to Oklahoma’s “Oh what a beautiful morning”, which will be followed by Louis Armstrong and “it’s a wonderful world” but, really, I’ll be waiting for Stevie Wonder and “Overjoyed”, which will accompany Pete Sixsmith’s report.

But that’s tomorrow. Before then, after Petula finishes and before Big Ben begins, we have  “The Letter”:

Dear Colin,

3-0! Three set pieces – two corners and a free kick – I think we could have had many more, but there was some good goalkeeping to keep it at 3-0 and just as important as the goals was the clean-sheet at the other end.

The turn of the year was a real eye opener for me, how we turned around the season since then we became a lot more resilient, a lot tougher and we showed a lot more quality and we stuck together as a team.

 Jermain Defoe. Cost us nowt. Saved us £100, million.
Jermain Defoe. Cost us nowt. Saved us £100  million.

Jermain Defoe’s goals have made a huge difference to our season, we’re now on 37 games and 38 points and for the first time since I’ve been here we’ve got more points than we’ve had games!

I’ve always said 38 points would do it and it has and now we’ve got a lovely trip to Watford to look forward to and we can relax and play a game of football that won’t be anywhere near as intense as our last few.

I didn’t envisage winning 3-0 tonight, I thought it would be tight but after the first goal we were fantastic, the lads were so confident and it just relieved the pressure from everybody.

The fans were able to enjoy the last 10 minutes because they knew we’d finally made it.

Our customary big turnout. Courtesy of @theawayfans
Our 12th man. Courtesy of @theawayfans


The feeling you get when the fans cheer you and you hit that wall of atmosphere makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck – it spurs you on to play well and it makes you love the game.

We’re finishing the season on a high and now we’ve got to make sure we start next season on a high! That’s what I want to see.

Sunderland have done this for the last few years, the optimism we see tonight has got to become a reality and we need to start where we’re leaving off. There will be a lot of hard work needed and lots of planning but we’ll do our best.

Thanks for keeping the faith

Sam Allardyce



17 thoughts on “SA’s Everton essay: fantastic (with things to sing when you’re winnin’)”

  1. I wanted Sam in at the start of the season and I was dissapointed when Advoocat returned to be honest . I just think ,if someone’s heart really isn’t in it and they want to retire , let them . Why ruin the good memories of the previous great escape . Perhaps Sam was approached but wasn’t ready to return just yet and Dick agreed to keep the seat warm untill then . Of course it went horribly wrong with a pathetic pre season resulting in an unfit team and results to match . Dick did the decent thing and Sam answered the call . The improvement has been immense , 19 games 12 points , 37 games 38 points . This is no great escape , but a steady improvement and I genuinely expect it to continue next season . This time we have got it right .

    • I think we were very lucky that Sam had a decent period to sort it out. Another 10 games and I think it would have been impossible to pull it round – even for Sam.

      He is a man in absolutely the right job.

    • The previous great escapes had an air of desperation about them. This was based on solid improvement that turned into good then unexpectedly (to me anyway) excellent results.

  2. He leaves every club in better condition than he found it…..what else can anyone ask? I lost a lot of affection towards Safc over the DiCannio debacle. Gus and Dick didn’t quite work ….. But now I feel re-engaged and next season will buy a season ticket for the first time in a while. It’s not just about performance……it’s about values. I like Sam’s values.

  3. Sam Allardyce has won the hearts of Sunderland supporters in recent years that has come and gone with managers, but I think this is here to stay. He instilled pride and a work ethic into the team. Shipped out the non-compliers, Fletcher, Giaccerini and Pantillimon, that won’t go unnoticed by other managers. He picks the best team not changing to keep everyone happy. You want to play for him you have to earn it, wake up Lens and the others. He believes in what he is doing and sticks to it. We can now move forward I hope this is not another false dawn. We will have stability spend money wisely and bring on young players. He did wonders in the January window with a small purse. Kone, Kirchoff, Kahzri. Will he want Yedlin, M’villa? He knows what he wants we can trust him.

    • Spot on Keith. Sam is often dismissed as a long ball merchant. In my opinion he is a pragmatist. He makes the best of what he has at his disposal, and plays to it’s strengths. He is the manager we have wanted for many years.

      The team spirit that has become so obvious in recent weeks at Sunderland is very impressive, and I think that is Sam’s biggest achievement.

      I am very hopeful for next season.

    • That’s what riles the Smoggies. No-one cares enough about them to hate them. That’s why they hate everyone.

      • Ourselves more than most , which tends to produce indfference and bemusement from us . So they hate us even more .

  4. Pet Clark could also sing “Downtown.” Or, in a Geordie accent, it could be “Toon Doon.” Oops, I meant “Doon Toon.” Schadenfreude, but I will miss the derby matches.

    You can also sing “Oh Happy Day” by The Edwin Hawkin Singers.

    The match started at 1:45 pm here. I went into work but had to go home ill….

  5. I was afraid the Adam Johnson thing might cast a shadow on this stupendous achievement. But it hasn’t. And no one can say it was a fluke. Back-to-back hammerings of two pretty good teams in the space of a few days is beyond the wildest dreams of anyone but a Sunderland fan who’s spent more than enough time in the trenches up to his/her neck in muck & bullets.
    I make no claims but I THINK I may have been the first on here to say Sam Allardyce was the man we needed. It was, as I recall, decried in some quarters. But that’s not important. “Cometh the hour, cometh the man…” I hope, at very least, Sunderland is preparing to give Big Sam the key to the city and that Ellis Short is preparing to give him unhindered sway over the team’s future.

    • I have to confess (again) that Sam’s appointment did not get my pulse racing Bill but here are some reasons why I now see him as the perfect fit.

      1. His insistence that he has players he wants not those chosen by a third party.

      2. His nous in the transfer market – shipping out the dead wood to free up funds for players who actually bring something to the party.

      3. The team spirit he has engendered in this squad. I have never seen a team look so together since the Peter Reid days and their commitment and work rate is enormous.

      4. Rekindling a rapport between the club and supporters. We can see in his side players who relish playing for the club rather than just picking up a big pay cheque to fund a playboy lifestyle.

      5. The work his backroom staff are doing. Look at the improvements in van Aanholt and Yedlin. No longer do I feel that full back is a weak area of our team when six months ago it was the biggest of our several achilles heels. Also watch Duncan Watmore now. A few weeks ago he seemed unaware of what was around him when he had the ball. Now is starting to run with his head up.

      6. Despite his reputation as a dour manager who puts out teams that play boring football I am enjoying watching this team. Some of the football they have played has been top drawer and although they can still give the ball away too easily at times, they fight to get it back.

      7. He understands the region and buys into the culture of the North East.

      He’ll do for me.

      • That was one of things that made me like the look of him, Malcolm – that he was from a similar region to ours and understood our way of thinking. He’s no-nonsense, no messing about, just get the job done. Which is why he never really fitted it at West Ham! I never much agreed with his reputation for dull football (same goes for Tony Pulis, actually) and he’s certainly proved himself capable of motivating his players. Van Aanholt has been a revelation. I’m fascinated to see what he’ll do during the off-season to build the team still further.

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