Monsieur Salut writes: this is a Who are You? with a difference ahead of tonight’s FA Cup 2nd round replay at home to Walsall.
Richard Hall’s Q+A for the first two games – both drawn – between our clubs this season, league and cup, were mightily impressive. Our own star writer Pete Sixsmith thought they were good enough for us to bring forward the annual HAWAY awards (Highly Articulate Who are You?s) since no one else was likely to emulate the standard he set.
Salut! Sunderland turned all the same to one of Richard’s friends, Darren Fellows, for some quick thoughts on Walsall and Sunderland having seen us twice so recently.
At Twitter, Darren describes his mission as ‘”trying to make par on the golf course of life”. He also writes for Richard’s Walsall site, The No Nobhead Policy.
The site is well worth a look, and not only because the archives include a wonderfully titled article about the then Walsall manager: A comparative study of Jon Whitney’s Walsall FC and the Donald Trump Administration
Here, then is what Darren has to say:
Result: can’t see anything but a home win if I’m being honest. Especially if it goes to penalties, because if there’s one thing that we’re genuinely world class at, it’s losing on penalties.
What I’ve learned from our two games so far?
Sunderland are pretty useful going forward, especially with 11 men on the field. The comeback from 2-0 down in the league game emphasised the impressive cutting edge that you expect from a team playing at least one division below where they naturally should be and also exposed our soft side defensively.
Budgets talk, and the respective difference between your and ours is most obvious when in possession. Without the ball I thought you guys were less convincing and had we had more of a cutting edge we probably could’ve won either game.
Aye. Weak against crosses or ball played in behind IMO. https://t.co/34cH048gax
— Richard Hall (@HallyMk1) December 11, 2018
I was surprised (and relieved) at how little you guys carved out in the FA Cup game, particularly on the back of such a dominant final quarter the previous Saturday, and I felt we had a case for being disappointed at only drawing, but guess that you guys could argue exactly the same.
If I have any hope in the replay it’s probably centred on keeping things as tight as we possibly can and nicking something late but won’t exactly be holding my breath.
One final thing worth mentioning is how impressed I was with the fans that travelled to the league game. After Coventry’s lot stank the place out a week earlier, it was refreshing to see a big support turn out with a bit of humility and realism. Everyone knows you’re a big club and I respect the fact you didn’t feel the need to rub it in every other minute. And good on you guys for that.
See also Richard Hall’s two-part interview: