Sunderland showed character to turn a shocking start into a game we might have gone on to win. But it was against WBA at home and, and with respect to a likeable club, that is not quite like Arsenal and Man Utd away, two of our next three games on the road. Relief at yesterday’s equaliser hardly banished discontent. Ian Porter shared this response to Steve Bruce’s post-match message (see Bruce’s Banter) with fellow subscribers to the Blackcats list …
Thanks for your post-match e-mail.
It was good to see The Lads suck with it and dug deep instead of huffing and puffing again.
It amuses me watching your team nowadays, as it reminds me so much of watching many other games at the Stadium of Light and I regularly draw similarities between players of yesteryear and today.
We had a centre half called Paul Butler. He reminds me very much of Michael Turner. A big strong strapping lad, great to have in the side when you’re playing Stoke, but I think he thought Pace was one half of a comedy duo! WBA’s second goal very much reminded me of Paul Butler. It’s funny how these things come around,isn’t it?
We also had a couple of players, Whitehead and Leadbitter, I think you actually sold them. Well watching Gardner reminds me very much of those two as well, but Gardner surely must be a much better player than those two because you’ve just spent so much money on him, haven’t you?
In that same team, we also had a right winger called Liam Lawrence, he couldn’t beat a man for pace but did put in the odd decent cross and chip in with the odd goal. When Elmo’s first goal in 40 appearances went in, I couldn’t help drawing comparisons again! But again, we paid nothing like the sort of money you’ve just laid out for Elmo, so he must be a better player as well.
I’m sure you’ve read about Peter Reid getting the sack after a bad run of results. I bet you really sympathise with him, as his bad run doesn’t compare with our record at home this year. It must really be a comfort to you knowing that you have a chairman and owner that support you through these bad years.
Like you, Peter went through a bad run of results and in his post-match interviews, he never seemed to know what to do to get out of the bad run, simply saying the Lads would have to work hard in training again.
He also tried team building, usually in the Italian restaurant at Cleadon, after all the regular customers had gone home to bed, or a lock in at The Phoenix in Seaham. I think The Lads came into training hung over in those days as well! … And Peter used to remind people that we’d finished our highest position for many years and he wouldn’t have turned into a bad manager overnight as well.
Peter’s trouble, though, was that he never seemed to have a plan B or C when things went wrong. Funny isn’t it? I can also remember at the start of the new season, he had a bit of a spat with a couple of his players. We had Michael Bridges being mentioned as an England centre forward and I think he wanted a bit more money but he decided to sell him instead. A similar thing happened with Allan Johnston. I chuckled to myself when I drew similarities between Bent, Cana, Gyan and Henderson. It’s funny that, isn’t it?
Peter was forced into making some panic buys at the start of the season, and he brought in Flo who was a total flop and got moved on at a loss quite quickly. My nostalgic memories were in overdrive comparing Flo, who was a Norwegian international to the likes of Kilgallon, Da Silva & Riveros. But you know Steve, the funniest thing of all is that for all the nostalgic memories that today’s team gives me, the one big difference is that Peter Reid was eventually sacked, the same as Howard Wilkinson, Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane.
It’s really funny how these sort of things keep coming around, isn’t it Steve? It looks like you’ve broken the mould, though, because you’re still in the job after spending such vast sums of money, losing some good players, struggling to win what should be the simplest of games and signing so many players that never get a game before they are sold.
Another thing that seems to come around each year though, Steve, is that October seems to be the favoured month for managers getting the sack. After struggling against the likes of Norwich and WBA, I’m sure you’ll be able to turn things around in the next few games, starting with Arsenal and ending with Man U away. Bolton and Villa should be a walkover with the squad you’ve assembled, Steve.
Good luck, you’ll need it. I’ll probably see you against Fulham mid-November. As a Sky pundit at the game.
All the best,