John McCormick writes: Colin has made it known that he felt a sinking feeling on Saturday. And as such a feeling requires an SOS it’s appropriate that Wrinkly Pete’s update dropped into the Salut mailbox yesterday.
So here’s Pete, with a message that all is not yet lost
“I’m sending out an S O S, ‘cos I’m in so much distress”
So sang Edwin Starr in his hit song “Stop Her On Sight” and I am hoping that I will not feel the same as I begin my four hour drive home, post match on Saturday.
If David Moyes, pre match on Saturday, can get his team to realise that this is “War”, another of Starr’s hits, then we might get a win and make a further small (?) step towards safety.
Just in case, and assuming we get no points from the Stoke game, I set out below my personal plan for what we will then need to achieve, game by game, to avoid relegation. This, of course, does assume that those teams presently languishing at the bottom with us do not exceed our achievements.
Well, we have not even broken sweat (yes, including some of our players) and my prediction is bang on course. We have nil points from the Stoke game and, having exited the FA cup, will be able to rest up prior to the Spurs home game. I do try to enjoy the experience of following The Lads and can sometimes appreciate the bizarre events that I witness in so doing. As examples from the Stoke game, not only did the South Stand set a new record for earliest mass exit but our players were not stupid in the second half. They knew that if they annoyed Stoke too much they would be properly smacked (are you still allowed to type that?). How else could you explain Rodwell’s miss? Speaking of the mass exit, the crowd gaps that I refer to were filled by the time of the second half restart. As my namesake Peter Kay would say “What was that all about?” Did the exiteers all need an early wee? Were the gates opened at half time as in days of old and free loaders filled the gaps? I prefer to think the exiteers heard the crowd greet Defoe’s goal and still had enough belief to reclaim their seats. Which ever I am glad. If we expect fight from our players, we must support them.
On Saturday I will be at The Hawthorns hoping for a victory. I would rather that than a draw and wonder if I have magical powers and should have laid a bet on “my plan”.
Wrinkly Pete 19/1/17
Jan 21 WBA (a) Draw. A tough demand at a ground where we don’t traditionally do well.
When I offered M. Salut to do an update of this article after each game, I hadn’t thought I would have Coldplay’s “Scientist” lyrics buzzing through my head “nobody said it was easy – no one ever said it would be this hard”. However, a deal is a deal, and in fact writing this is just like watching Sunderland. The match itself will have been covered elsewhere so I will just reference a couple of things I witnessed. Firstly, the team’s performance could be summed up in that shown by Djilobodji who began the game firing accurate 50 yard passes and ended it throwing punches. Secondly, Honeyman’s efforts showed what can be achieved and, judging by their praise of him, how generous our loving supporters are.
Regarding our support, a bit like “Billydodgy’s” but in reverse. They started singing that they wished Stephen Taylor was dead (can we move on please?) but quickly replaced the “we’re f—ing sh—“ with the more prosaic “You’re not that good, we lose every week”
So, we are only one point short on my prediction and some other under achievers have been good enough to keep us company over the weekend. However, we will need a whole team with Honeyman’s attitude and 100% from our home crowd for 90+ minutes in order to get the win against Spurs.
Wrinkly Pete 23/1/17
Jan 31 Spurs (h) Win. Spurs will have played in the FA cup 4th round a few days previously, we will have rested, having lost the upcoming Burnley replay.
Ok, so we didn’t get the win I predicted, although we should have if (a) Borini had scored when through on goal, or (b) wins were determined by attitude. It was a pleasure to be there last night.
IF we can maintain that level of performance EVERY game, we could stay up – with more than 37 points.
I would ask our fans to stay to the final whistle. Again last night they were streaming out on 87 minutes. Where are they going that arriving 5 minutes later would ruin? Our players put in a really gutsy performance against a superb team. Was that not worthy of applauding them off the field? My travelling group faced a four hour drive home and did so. In fact our journey this time started in January and didn’t finish until a month later!!
Keep the faith.
Wrinkly Pete 1/2/17
Feb 4 Palace (a) Draw. Big Sam will still be struggling to improve things.
How could I have been so wrong? Not only was my prediction of the result wrong but elsewhere on this website I forecast that PvA would score at both ends and be culpable for our other two goals in a 3-3 draw. So the only tiny success for my prophesying was PvA’s foul which conceded the free kick from which we scored our first goal. Hey ho!
I will also hope to be wrong on Saturday. I won’t say more – just in case!
By this point, my predictions would have gained us an additional five points. The reality is that we have gained four points so we are a single point down but I think there are other things to take into account looking at where we were just over three weeks ago. Firstly, we have stayed in touch with the other teams “in the basement” and in fact have been joined by others so that now the bottom six are spread across only two points. Secondly, we have lost a left back who announced that he didn’t want to play for us and couldn’t defend and got a left back who can defend plus a load of money. Thirdly, we have got two other new players, Gibson and Lescott who not only want to play but most importantly want to play for David Moyes. To appreciate the significance of this latter point, you only have to look at Jack Rodwell’s performances now compared to those under previous management. Let us hope that his hamstring injury is only slight.
Thus, we still have a mountain to climb but haven’t fallen off!
Sing your hearts out on Saturday. You can make the difference.
Wrinkly Pete. 6/2/17
Feb 11 S’ton (h) Lose. In typical SAFC fashion, one we should win we don’t.
Was it all my fault? I predicted the loss based on experiencing so many false dawns over the years following The Lads – although I secretly hoped that Southampton would have one eye on their cup final appearance and we might get something! No, on reflection I don’t think I am to blame, especially after reading the excellent comments that follow Pete Sixsmith’s latest match report. I think that we were simply not good enough in most positions. When we raise our game, for example against Spurs, when we knew we had to, then we can just about compete. If we fall behind, our already fragile confidence completely disappears.
Despite the raw feeling I have inside as I type this, all is not lost. We are still in touch with other strugglers and we have better players to return from injury to improve the side and the spirit.
Keep the faith.
Wrinkly Pete, 13/2/17
Feb 25 Everton (a) Draw. We bounce back. Well, a partial bounce.
Hmmm. I wasn’t at this one so have to rely on other people’s match reports and the SAFC website highlights. Worryingly, our only two outstanding moments seemed to be (a) the continuing excellent response to the needs of Bradley Lowery and (b) Defoe hitting the woodwork.
When the players shook hands pre kick off, it may have been the camera angle but our players all looked smaller than Everton’s. In any event, and not for the first time this season, what little I have been able to see did look like men (them) against boys (us). Well, there is nothing that we can do about that until the giant Kirchhoff and the terrier Cattermole return so let’s look for the positives in where we are. Firstly we are only two points short of my survival scenario at this point in time. Secondly, we have only two games to play in March now that the ‘Boro game has been postponed. If my memory serves me well, a similar thing occurred in two of our recent escape seasons, allowing us time to get injured players back and giving us a “game in hand” over relegation rivals. Thirdly, and crucially, although others down at the bottom have gained points whilst we haven’t, not everyone has so that we are still in touch. Finally, we have Pickford back in goal. I feel sorry for Mannone as I think he gives everything to the cause and I remember it was he who instigated the wages forfeit after the Southampton eight goal debacle. However, I am certain that Pickford is the better keeper and IF we are to stay up we MUST have our best players on the pitch.
I shall be there on Sunday, dreading a thrashing and hoping for a miracle – whatever happened to Ji??
Wrinkly Pete 1/3/17
Mar 4 Man C (h) Win. The crowd inspire an unlikely victory.
Mar 11 Boro (a) Lose. As with the Southampton game, we fail to maintain a revival.
Mar 18 Burnley (h) Win. Burnley are distracted by their forthcoming FA cup semi-final appearance.
Apr 1 Watford (a) Draw. A battling performance by Cattermole on his comeback from injury inspires the rest of the team to a 0-0 result.
Apr 4 Leics (a) Lose. Leicester get the three points they need to avoid the drop, avoiding the shame that they would have suffered as relegated champions.
Apr 8 Man U (h) Lose. The shrinking violet that is Mourinho finally gets his team playing like Chelski and Ibrahimavich is unplayable.
Apr 15 West Ham (h) Win. We get revenge with a 1-0 win in the 94th minute.
Apr 22 Arsenal (a) Lose. Miffed at not being in the FA cup semi-final, The Gunners take it out on us, with the four foot tall Sanchez getting a hat trick of headed goals.
Apr 29 Bournemouth (h) Lose. We have the jitters, with safety in sight, Bournemouth are by now already safe.
May 6 Hull (a) Win. Hull become our Norwich of last season as we secure their relegation.
May 13 Swansea (h) Win. Swansea, who are already down, give in to allow us to escape again.
May 21 Chelsea (a) Lose. Who cares?
We survive with 37 points, the same total as last season.
As if I could care less, Palace are also relegated. This then is Big Sam’s first relegation and completes a miserable season for him personally.