Pete Sixsmith was again asked by The Observer to reflect on all things Sunderland for the newspaper’s half-term review. This, submitted before the Norwich game, was the pre-editing version …
The season has been as dismal as the league position suggests. Defeats to those pushing for the title at home, coupled with defeats to our relegation rivals away have made it almost as dispiriting as the infamous 15 point season. But there is hope – as long as we have managed to beat Norwich yesterday (oops – ed).
Star men are in short supply at The Stadium of Light. Giaccherini has shown some nice touches, Borini scored a stunning winner against Newcastle and Ki – Sung-Yeung passes the ball well. New signing (well, it feels like that) Wes Brown is probably our star man.
As for underperformers, there are the usual suspects – Adam Johnson, Craig Gardener, Seb Larsson and they have been joined by the likes of Cabral, Diakite and Roberge, all signed by the Director of Football and against the wishes of a certain Italian – so he says.
We don’t have managers at Sunderland, just Head Coaches. The current one looks a good one, with a footballing philosophy that preaches careful possession and thoughtful football, but he has been dealt a poor hand by the previous three managers/Head Coaches. Poyet would get a solid 7/10 for me. The previous Head Coach, who is largely responsible for this shambles, gets uno out of dieci. He gets the uno for his suits.
Signings in January are going to be very interesting. Last January we signed Danny Graham (now on loan to Hull City) and Alfred N’Diaye (now on loan to Eskisehirspor) so we have form in this window. We need a central defender, a full back and a creative midfield player who can score goals – there must be lots of those available who would want to play for a side heading for the Championship. We could ship a few out as well.
The rule change I would like to see is that if you score an own goal, you should be allowed a free shot at your opponents goal. As long as Jozy Altidore was not allowed anywhere near the ball, we could be five goals and eight points better off.