Malcolm Dawson writes….Pete Sixsmith doesn’t just deliver “The Observer” sometimes he gets asked to write for it too. As is their wont The Observer follows the lead of Salut! Sunderland by doing end of season reviews and ask the fans of all clubs to sum up their Premier League campaign. You can read the whole lot by following the links Arsenal to Manchester United and Newcastle to West Ham. Meanwhile, if you couldn’t care less about anyone else, here’s what Pete told them about us.
Our annual production of The Great Escape was even more special this season, after a start that was worse than Villa’s. The real improvement came when Sam Allardyce had his chance to revamp the squad. Out went those who were nowhere near good enough, in came three players who changed the season. Allardyce has impressed on and off the pitch: he’s a good fit for a gritty, working class club like ours.
The stars Koné, Kirchhoff and Khazri changed the dynamic. Younès Kaboul was poor in autumn and exceptional in spring. Vito Mannone was a fine keeper and Jermain Defoe’s goals and positivity kept us up.
The flops Jeremain Lens looked a good buy in summer but turned out to be a huge disappointment. I don’t expect to be seeing him in August. Jack Rodwell epitomised the way that our game wastes talent.
Summer targets Another forward, because Defoe will not go on for ever. Maybe Ayew from Swansea? There’s a need for a stronger squad and an end to signing players who are clearly unsuited to Premier League football. I’ll leave the detail to the scouts who unearthed Koné, Kirchhoff and Khazri.
Best and worst away fans Leicester’s away crowd was noisy and clapperless. West Ham’s was boisterous. Chelsea were charmless.
2016-17 title winners Why not us? We finished on a high and have a solid squad. Lightning can strike twice. Failing that, maybe Tottenham.
Highlights montage music The Long and Winding Road – The Beatles.
Pete Sixsmith SalutSunderland.com
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4 thoughts on “Sixer observes: Allardyce fit for purpose as season draws to a close”
I’m convinced Allardyce is the man to take us forward , it just feels right . With DiCanio , Poyet and Advoocat I didn’t have the same feeling . I thought they’d all earned the right to try after pulling off near miracles ,but in the back of my mind I wondered was it mostly down to complacent players getting a rocket up their backsides . This time its different , a substandard squad creaking with poor players from the previously mentioned regimes was added to with three quality signings and played in a formation that worked . Dead wood were shifted but there’s still many more to go , this is our biggest problem at the minute . Sam will have his targets but will he have the wages to spare to purchase them ? Maybe coming to similar agreements with these players to Roberge is the way forward .
Starting with Vergini?
Maybe Sam will take at look at him pre season and see something that Advocaat didn’t. I feel he may be more suited to a Kirchoff role than an out an out centre back if we can’t get shot.
I’m not advocaating (sic) we keep him mind but while he’s with us surely it makes sense to see if he can be utilised as something other than an over age player in the Development squad or as another highly paid home maker a la Roberge.
Vergini and Giacharini arn’t right offs by any stretch of the imagination and hopefully Sam gives them the once over .
Giaccherini in particular is well worth another look, I think he could be great if played in the right position, hopefully Allardyce can find out what that position is.
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