Sunderland Observed: Sixer’s half-term report

Sixer at The Observer


Britain’s best newspaper – remember those useful if outdated things? – came calling again and Pete Sixsmith answered The Observer‘s call, with this half-term report (written before the win vs Watford)…


We are deeply entrenched in the annual relegation battle, have been told there is no money to spend and the owner has made it clear that the club is up for sale. Sunderland supporters are a stoical bunch but our stoicism is being stretched this season.

David Moyes inherited a difficult situation after Allardyce took a short vacation at Wembley – some would applaud him for his realistic approach while others would criticise him for his perceived negativity. All in all, not a great half season. A generous 4/10.

Stars and flops:

Jordan Pickford has been outstanding and we can see a future England goalkeeper there. Unfortunately, he will not be a Sunderland player for much longer.

Victor Anichebe has done well in his few games and Jermain Defoe continues to score and show how a pro should look after himself. We are still waiting to see if Didier Ndong can live up to the pressure of “club record signing” and if Adnan Janusaj can fulfil the potential he once showed at Old Trafford. Two young men who could do better. Papy Djilobodji is improving thank goodness. Jack Rodwell has disappeared.

Happy with the manager?

David Moyes has come into a difficult situation and has looked at the club in the long term. He has been open and honest and has made it clear that there is a lot of structural work to do instead of the papering over the cracks preferred by some of his predecessors.

That hasn’t gone down well with many fans and he has some severe critics. It has been made clear that he is here for the long run and if that means taking a relegation, so be it. I would give him 6/10; others would take 5 off that.

We need at least two defenders. Carl Jenkinson has been mentioned as one and another central defender will have to come in as Kone is on African Cup of Nations duties – but he might well have left by then. Other than that, let’s see if there are any former Everton players without contracts anywhere. Leon Osman perhaps?

2016 has been a grim year. But which footballing moment made you smile?

The obvious one was the relegation of our Tyneside friends but that may come back and bite us. The smiles on the faces of the Iceland players and supporters after they beat England made me smile but that’s about it. Being a football fan in general and a Sunderland supporter in particular is a grim business. Smiling rarely comes into it.

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