Forget or delay your pre-match pint. Don’t even think of joining the ridiculous queues at the official club shop. Still less waste your time at the shop’s little satellite stall between the ticket office and the East Stand turnstiles only to be told they have nothing you wanted to buy, or nothing in the right size.
Pop along instead to Waterstone’s in the Bridges centre where Andy Dawson (pictured), the man behind the new SAFC-related website Haway the Lads will be autographing copies of his new book, The Irish Uprising: How Keano and the Mighty Quinn saved Sunderland. It will, says Andy, be the longest hour of his life, sitting in the shop between 12.30 and 1.30pm “wondering if anyone will come”.
Charlie Hurley’s foreword is just what you’d expect from the great man – I have him claimed as my very own at Andy’s site, though what I can hope to do with my possession is another matter – and I also liked this sequence from the first chapter, dealing with the gut response on Wearside and beyond to Roy Keane’s appointment:
………it must be remembered that this is Sunderland Association Football Club, a club with the most loyal of supporters and a huge, largely untapped amount of potential. Sadly, it’s also a club which has an uncanny knack of cack-handedly snatching catastrophe from the jaws of success whenever possible, traumatising its fans and amusing the rest of the footballig world.
This was the club who in the space of three years set the unwanted record of registering the lowest ever
points total in the Premiership (a feeble, lily-livered 19) only to fecklessly smash that record at the very next attempt (an eye-watering and scarcely-believable 15).
A club with a nearly-new stadium capable of holding almost fifty-thousand which had driven away most of its fan base through a series of unambitious and often downright clueless policy decisions. In fact, the only good thing about visiting the Stadium of Light by the spring of 2006 was that you didn’t have to queue all that long for your half-time pint.
But a revolution took place on Wearside in the summer of 2006, and with it came the possibility that Sunderland’s permanent role as one of football’s eternal yo-yo clubs would soon be over. As the new club chairman and figurehead of the Drumaville consortium that had taken control of the club from the long-serving and widely disliked Bob Murray, former player Niall Quinn was hell-bent on restoring the trust that had evaporated between the fans and club and bringing some stability and an air of respectability back
to the Black Cats.
Watch this space…..