Hot on the heels of our Sixer’s dispatches from Sunderland’s reserve games, Ian Todd, co-founder and mainstay of the London and SE branch of the SAFCSA, reports on a man-of-the-match outing for one of our loaned players, Billy Knott. Here, Knott knitted together, are Ian’s comments and a couple of others …
Couldn’t be much better really!
Billy Knott – *thanks Rach, or “Vagueonthehow”, for the photo – was already a crowd favourite (not least with the girls, who like his cherub appearance) and had them salivating at some excellent control and perceptive passing in the first 10 minutes.
“Blimey,” said a voice behind me, “we’re not used to seeing passing like that here!”
And so it continued, though there were occasional misplaced passes and the three right-wing corners he was entrusted with were of a pre-Larsson Sunderland standard.
But the crowning glory was Knott’s equalising goal for the Wombles, a rasping Vaughan-type shot from outside the box. This, in particular, but underpinned by a solid performance overall, brought Billy the “Man of the Match” award.
I had a word afterwards with his mum and dad, with whom he’s living at present in Canvey Island (so life isn’t a complete rose garden – ed) and enjoying home cooking.
To which Jeremy Robson, of this parish as well as the Blackcats list where Ian’s thought appeared, responded:
Great stuff Ian. This early there’s evidence of the growing effect of MON. Out the lad goes on loan and is pulling up trees. Excellent that players are getting the chance to play first team football somewhere else. There was not much chance of him getting a game for us under Bruce, but that’s unlikely to be the case with MON for Knott and all the other lads. The times have changed for the better and this is another indication of that.
Even if the above clip – see that celebration – didn’t already confirm Ian’s doubly partisan view (he has long had a soft spot for one or other of the Wimbledons****), this BBC report shows he got it spot-on:
** The Dons controlled much of the game but fell behind just after the break when Shaun Brisley teed up Dwayne Mattis to slot home.
However, the hosts drew level almost immediately when Billy Knott’s superb long-range effort found the net.
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But just how many Sunderland supporters went along to see the game? At least two is the answer, since Mike Tivnen has now added his own match report:
*** I was there, too. Very impressed with Knott. There’s something a bit Alf Tupper about his build: shorts so long and baggy they almost reach the top of his pulled up socks.
It was a fabulous shot for the goal, a real welly of a left-foot volley that curved into the top left corner. He celebrated by high or low fiving just about everyone on the pitch in a royal blue shirt as well as the dug out and the crowd. As you say, he’s clearly very popular with the fans.
Still very raw, but I think he’ll be a real asset in the future – I could see him in the Magic Johnson role.
**** Ian Todd corrects Salut!’s impertinent reference to “one or other of the Wimbledons” thus:
One or other???? Absolutely only AFCW!!!! Brought about by their inspirational reaction to the injustice served on the “old” Wimbledon, who now masquerading distastefully by another name in Bletchley (N.B. not even in MK!)
***** from Wikipedia (edited extracts):
Billy Knott (born 28 November 1992) joined West Ham United in 2003 at the age of 11. He left the club at 14 to join Chelsea, where he Billy the Under 16s team to second place in the 2008 Cobham Cup and was an inspirational leader throughout – he loves to have a pop at goal and is an infectious player, with enthusiasm rubbing off on others – before a cruciate ligament injury ended any hopes of him playing for the Under 18 team. To instill some defensive work ethic in his game, the club coaches started to use him at left-back, where he was still able to get forward effectively, whilst improving his all-round ability. Despite playing further back he went on a six game goalscoring run and looks as at home in the back four as he has in attack … Before he was signed by Sunderland Knott had a trial at Newcastle United.